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City wants planner for downtown ideas



Published: Thu, August 9, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



A third of the state planning grant will be used to reimburse a local businessman who helped fund an early part of the study.

By HAROLD GWIN

VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU

SHARON, Pa. -- The city is looking for planners interested in helping Sharon develop a Downtown Revitalization Plan.

Sharon has secured a $75,000 state grant and will hire a planner to to help draw more people into the business district.

City council, meeting in special session Wednesday, voted to accept the grant and directed the city to put out requests for proposals from interested urban planners willing to do the study.

Shenango River: One focus will be the Shenango River, a natural public attraction that runs through the center of town, said Mayor Robert T. Price.

Price said Ross Bianco, a Pittsburgh architect, has already given the city ideas for making the river more attractive.

Painting large murals to line the river banks, putting gondolas in the river for rides and installing a floating dock are some of the suggestions, the mayor said.

One-third of the grant has been spent on Bianco's services. Because the city didn't have the money in hand when that work was done, businessman James E. Winner Jr. of Winner International put up $25,000 to pay Bianco.

Price said $25,000 of the grant will be used to reimburse Winner and the rest will be used to pay for the development of the revitalization plan.

Ready to advertise: City officials said they are ready to advertise for requests for proposals from interested planners.

Council President Fred Hoffman urged the administration to act quickly to get the planning started. The city got the grant in April and there has been some criticism of the delay in getting a plan drafted, he said.




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