MERCER COUNTY Farrell City Council votes to fund efforts for beautification

Residents want money for house painting and sidewalk replacement efforts.
FARRELL, Pa. -- City officials are willing to tap a municipal revolving loan fund to help finance two resident-driven projects aimed at improving Farrell's appearance.
City council voted unanimously Monday to put up $5,000 to fund a pilot house-painting program targeting eight to 10 homes of low-income residents between Beechwood and Darr avenues and the Sharon and Wheatland borders.
Council then voted unanimously to provide $2,000 for a sidewalk replacement effort by residents in the 900 block of Hamilton Avenue.
Backed by group
Both projects are backed by the Neighborhood Association, an informal community-based organization that grew out of the Endorse Resistance of All Substance Abuse Everywhere, a local anti-drug coalition commonly referred to as ERASE.
Laverne Peterson of the Neighborhood Association said local contractors will do the actual painting of between eight and 10 homes in the targeted area.
The homes have already been selected and are owned and occupied by low-income residents who need help to improve the appearance of their properties, she said.
The group has also approached the Shenango Valley Foundation, Community Action Partnership and other organizations to raise about $5,000 more, she said.
The effort will benefit the city by improving the aesthetic appearance of older homes, she said.
Councilwoman Olive Brown, a member of ERASE, said the idea is to paint one or two homes per block in the targeted area.
Mayor William Moroco endorsed the project and members of council agreed to support it.
"I think it's a great idea," said Councilman Lou Falconi, adding that the city code enforcement officer should be consulted about which homes are to be painted.
The city wants to be sure it is putting money into homes where people are going to stay, not move out after the improvement, said Councilman Rudy Hammond.
Sidewalk project
Jeffrey Greene, who bought and is remodeling a house at 926 Hamilton Ave. that will serve as the home of an outreach ministry, is behind the sidewalk project and asked for $2,000 to help pay for materials and the use of a city dump truck and backhoe as well as city employees to run them for the first two Saturdays in October.
The goal is to replace all damaged sidewalks on both sides of the 900 block of Hamilton using the combined efforts of residents and volunteers from various Farrell and Sharon churches, he said.
Donations will provide additional money and residents who want their walks replaced will be asked to contribute $25 each, Greene said.
If this works, other residential neighborhoods may follow suit, Morocco said.
He said the city might have difficulty providing the overtime needed to pay employees to work Saturdays.
Greene said the work could be switched to Fridays when those people are on regular duty.

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