Federal Covid-19 Relief Money Comes to Aspinwall in the Amount of $266,251 and Brick Laying Ahead
While the pandemic has left some boroughs and townships struggling, Aspinwall Borough Council kept moving forward and is looking to the Borough’s future after the Covid-19 Pandemic.
According to Borough Manager Melissa Lang O’Malley, community events could return to Aspinwall as soon as the fourth quarter of this year. She hopes to bring back community favorites such as “Light Up the Wall” and even “Fall in the Wall” if circumstances allow it.
Borough Manager Lang had some additional good news, the Borough had been awarded and would receive $266,251.00 in American Relief Dollars within the next 60 days. While the money has not yet been earmarked for any particular use, it must be used in particular ways, and must be used within the next four years. Specifically, it may be used for water/sewer, as hazard pay to essential workers, as grants to local businesses, and as a method to boost the economy. However, it cannot be used for pension plans. The Borough intends to place the money on the books and account for it before deciding its use.
With regard to the new issue of glass recycling, the Borough has been approached by O’Hara Township to enter into an agreement to create a concrete pad with a dumpster for the purpose of recycling this glass. The pad and dumpster would be located in O’Hara and O’Hara would allow Aspinwall residents to utilize this dumpster if Aspinwall is willing to pay 1/3 of the construction, maintenance, and operation of the dumpster. O’Hara has similarly reached out to Blawnox Borough with the same agreement and Blawnox has accepted. Under the new contract with Shank Waste Service (Aspinwall’s new garbage hauler), glass is acceptable but it is not recycled.
In considering the benefits and detriments of the contract, Councilmember David Brown suggested, instead of paying 1/3 of all costs, it makes some sense for the Borough to pay it’s per capita (or proportionate share as to population size) of the costs since Aspinwall has a much smaller population than O’Hara. Councilmember Tim McLaughlin indicated there are other areas to recycle glass such as Construction Junction available. Councilmember Marcia Cooper remarked that Aspinwall “did not need to subsidize O’Hara’s recycling.” Borough Manager Lang intends to find out more details regarding the O’Hara plan, the availability of recycling alternatives, and the terms of the Shank Waste Service contract with regards to glass, before any final decisions are made.
From the Infrastructure Committee, residents should expect some brick laying to take place in Aspinwall in the near future after Council moved forward with a low-bid brick contract. Councilmember Lara Voytko announced last Wednesday that she had received a bid from Youngblood Paving, Inc. that was half the costs of the next closest bid. Councilmember Brown requested the reason for the low bid, and Councilmember Voytko tended to indicate the company was looking to bring in work. According to Councilmember Voytko, the Borough has used this company in the past and their work was fine. While the bid is competitive, at $77,639.00, it was determined that they were the lowest responsible bidder and on Motion by Councilmember Voytko, Youngblood Paving, Inc. was awarded the contract.
Council intends to have a number of streets and parking lots rebricked under this contract including Guyasuta Lane and 12th Street. Councilmember Voytko is eyeing improvements on Fifth Street, Tenth Street, Alley C, and Lexington in the future.
Councilmember Brown reminded residents that the Borough would be taking part in the “Green Streets” litter pick-up event in Aspinwall. Resident Andy Collins has spear-headed the event and it will start the week of April 19 and end on April 25. Interested persons need only sign up online through this link: https://aspinwallneighbors.org/2021/03/28/earth-day-green-streets-clean-up/
Councilmember Brown additionally requested, on behalf of the Aspinwall Shade Tree Commission (“ASTC”), for a Conciliar Declaration in support of tree-planting and trees in Aspinwall. Aspinwall has been previously declared a Tree City USA.
In Other News:
Residents should fill out a planning survey that will be available to residents, according to Councilmember David Borland. With the results of the survey, the Planning Committee hopes to plan the future of Aspinwall. The survey will be available online but if residents would like a printed copy of the survey, they can request such a copy at the Borough Office Building. This survey will set the direction of Aspinwall planning for the next 10 to 15 years.
Councilperson Jeff Harris announced the “Story Book Walk” in Firemen’s Park (in Upper Aspinwall) will be officially opened during an April 30, 2021 “Ribbon Cutting Ceremony.” The Parks Committee has been working to build the storybook walk over the last year.
As previously announced, the Borough has entered into a contract with Shank Waste Service. A letter will be distributed to community members indicating the change of service from County Hauling to Shank Waste Service in the next few weeks. The last day for service with County Hauling will be May 10. Under the Shank Waste Service agreement, the new pick-up day for garbage in the Borough will be Wednesdays.
A treasurer’s report was sent out to councilmembers by Councilmember Heth Turnquist. He requested feedback on the report and input from Council so that the reports may be improved.
Junior Councilperson Lydia Turnquist plans to create a professional clothing drive to benefit women and men who may need professional clothing for job interviews and the workplace. The details of the Professional Clothing Drive will later be released.