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SHARON Council supports COG plan



Published: Fri, April 5, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



A riverside walkway and a pedestrian bridge across the Shenango River are included in the plans.

By HAROLD GWIN

VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU

SHARON, Pa. -- City council is backing a plan to seek $6.24 million in federal transit grant money for six projects, most of them targeted for within the city.

The project package was put together by Mercer County Regional Council of Governments and would fit right in with Sharon's efforts to develop a downtown revitalization plan, said James DeCapua, COG executive director.

He outlined the package for city council Thursday, and council responded with its endorsement of the proposal.

DeCapua said the neighboring municipalities of Hermitage, Farrell, Sharpsville and Wheatland also will be asked for their support as one of the six projects will involve those communities.

The goal is to get the $6,240,000 allocation in the next Federal Transit Administration appropriations bill. That will cover 80 percent of the $7.8 million total cost. COG and the local municipalities will come up with the rest, he said.

The lion's share of local funds will be nearly $1 million from Sharon, DeCapua said. The city should be able to cover that contribution, however, by using advance payments it will get from the federal grant funds for the lease of land for three of the projects and the sale of municipal land for a fourth, he added.

The projects are:

U$3.5 million for the construction of 46 passenger comfort stations in the five municipalities to serve the Shenango Valley Shuttle Service routes. The shuttle service is run by COG. Sharon would get 17 of the stations and have to contribute $258,700. That money, however, will be more than covered by a $612,000 advance of grant funds for a 30-year lease on the 17 sites.

U$1.54 million for the construction of a seven-bay, 11,500-square-foot vehicle storage and light maintenance facility that also will serve as a new Sharon city garage. Sharon's share will be $256,718.

U$1.045 million for a 12-by-500-foot elevated pedestrian walkway stretching along the west side of the Shenango River from State Street to the Shenango Valley Shuttle Service Transit Center in the North Water Avenue parking lot. Sharon's share will be $175,200.

U$670,000 for land purchase and construction of two parking lots on the east side of the Shenango River at Silver Street. A vacant gas station, the former Elks building and a parking lot are part of the site. Sharon's share will be $111,890.

U$550,000 for land acquisition and construction of additional parking on North Water Avenue adjacent to the Transit Center. Two dilapidated buildings will be razed. Sharon's share will be $91,685.

U$495,000 for the construction of a 12-by-250-foot pedestrian foot bridge across the Shenango River at the site of the former Porter Way Bridge adjacent to the Transit Center. It would provide access to the new parking areas on the east side of the river. Sharon's share will be $82,665.

gwin@vindy.com




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