AP NEWS

Citizens group seeking money for Boswell beautification

May 14, 2019

Boswell residents on Monday asked the borough council for help acquiring state funds to beautify the town.

Members of the Boswell Improvement Group asked council members to help apply for a Multimodal Transportation Fund grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. The state is offering up to $3 million for development and rehabilitation projects without organizations presenting a matching fund balance.

Group spokeswoman Cindy West said the organization is seeking funds for projects to improve infrastructure in the borough.

“We got together for our first meeting and asked for suggestions to clean up our town,” she said. “Everybody’s recommendations were sidewalks and bike racks.”

The Boswell Improvement Group is a committee of residents looking to “improve and revitalize” the borough and outlying areas.

The multimodal grant is only available to councils of government, businesses and public transportation agencies. Volunteers brought the idea before the council in April. Council members declined to apply for the grant until they received more information.

“Usually it’s a 70/30 match, so the municipality has to pay 30%,” Brandon Peters, transportation program manager for the Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission, said at Monday’s meeting. “The nice thing about it now is that DCED is waiving the match, which by Dec. 31 of this year they won’t be offering that anymore.”

Council members on Monday estimated that the 12-foot-wide sidewalks would cost up to $60,000 to maintain or replace.

Council member Larry Williams said the borough is subject to several stormwater problems, including flooding, that the council members cannot fix with their current budget.

“It doesn’t make any sense to put the sidewalks in and then tear them up and redo them again,” he said. “You got to start underneath your infrastructure and get that done first.”

Williams added that nothing has been done to fix the stormwater system since 1905.

Council members approved a plan for engineers from The EADS Group to get started with applying for the multimodal grant, capping the engineering costs at $1,000. Council members have until July 31 to apply for the grant on the group’s behalf.

Meanwhile, members of the Boswell improvement Group are also trying to get funding from a Southern Alleghenies micro-grant program, which awards up to $50,000 for park and recreation activities.

West said volunteers cleaned the park next to North Star High School in April and are scheduling several community projects in the future to help revitalize a town that has few local volunteer groups.

“That’s one reason we’re trying to get this group going, because people kept passing the buck in town,” she said.