By HAROLD GWIN
VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU
SHARON, Pa. -- There's one more project Mayor Robert T. Price would like to accomplish before he leaves office but he doesn't know if he will have the money to do it.
A three-block section of East Silver Street from Penn Avenue to Railroad Street should be reopened to two-way traffic, he said.
"That's one of the things I want to get done before I leave, or at least get it started," he said.
History: City council voted Nov. 14, 1979, to make East Silver Street from Penn Avenue to Sharpsville Avenue a one-way route for westbound traffic only. Officials now say they don't remember why that change was made.
Price started talking about reopening most of it to two-way traffic again three years ago but was never able to accomplish it.
"Funding," he replied when asked why it hasn't happened.
"When you're running tight, money is hard to come up with," he said.
Price said he would oppose opening the street for eastbound traffic all the way to Sharpsville Avenue.
Silver Street narrows between Railroad Street and Sharpsville Avenue and there really isn't enough room for eastbound vehicles to safely make turns at Sharpsville, he said.
Sharon did briefly open Silver Street to two-way traffic from Penn Avenue to Railroad Street in the mid-1980s when portions of State Street, the main east-west thoroughfare through the business district, were being rebuilt.
Reason: There is no good east-west route for motorists traveling through what the city refers to as the North Flats area, Price said.
State Street runs through the main business district and Connelly Boulevard and the Shenango Valley Freeway provide east-west access to the south of State Street, but there is no good route north of State Street, he said.
Reopening Silver Street on a permanent basis would require approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
PennDOT gave that approval three years ago but said the city would have to bear the cost of improving the traffic signals to facilitate the eastbound traffic flow.
Price said that would cost about $100,000. And, that's money the city hasn't been able to come up with, Price said.
Candidates: The two men who might succeed Price in the mayor's office are divided on the matter.
"I'd love to see that happen," said David O. Ryan, city controller and former police chief.
Ryan won the Democratic nomination for the mayoral post in the May primary.
"I can't see us spending that amount of money. I'd rather spend $100,000 on paving some streets," said Lou Rotunno, city councilman and winner of the Republican nomination for the mayoral post.
Ryan agrees the project would be expensive. The street is in bad shape and would probably have to be resurfaced but that would be an important east-west route, he said, adding that he would like to see the street opened all the way to Sharpsville Avenue for eastbound traffic.
It was that way years ago and there's no reason it couldn't be that way again, he said, discounting Price's claim that the approach to Sharpsville Avenue is too narrow.
Budd Street: Ryan said he would also like to reopen Budd Street between the Shenango Valley Freeway and South Dock Street on the southern side of the city.
That could take some of the traffic trying to go south into Farrell off the freeway, he said.
Budd Street was cut off just west of Dock Street decades ago to facilitate the development of an industrial plant, he said.
Rotunno said he doesn't see any significant improvement in traffic patterns by opening Silver Street to two-way traffic.
Silver is one-way west but Pitt Street, one block to the south, is one-way for eastbound traffic and seems to be able to handle the load, he said.