Canonsburg council continues to reinvest in the borough with Monday’s move to approve a $3.2 million bond issue – the first money borrowed by council since 2003.
“The reason we’re borrowing money is to reinvest in the community,” council member Eric Chandler said at a previous meeting earlier in the month.
Canonsburg began renovating the downtown in 2019, when Lisa Scarmazzi stepped into the role of Director of Economic Development. Canonsburg has since welcomed several businesses to Pike Street and, for the first time in 2021, hosted Alleyway Saturdays, a monthly community event that promotes local artists and businesses all summer long.
Jamie Inferrera of the Pittsburgh law firm Dinsmore & Shohl explained Monday that while council needs only $3 million “to fund various capital projects throughout the borough,” Canonsburg is borrowing an additional $200,000 as cushion.
Council President R.T. Bell said funds will be used for public works building updates and construction of a 90-space municipal parking lot.
Approximately $1.5 million is allocated to the public works building project, while the parking lot project will receive $1 million, said council member Richard Russo.
“The parking lot is important as we move through what is a conscious expansive redevelopment phase in Canonsburg,” said Russo, noting downtown redevelopment took off when the borough hired Scarmazzi.
When the borough welcomed community input at a workshop last year, “at the top of the list was parking.”
“To try and support the economic impact, we thought parking was kind of a baseline of what we should do first,” Russo said.
The lot at the corner of Central Avenue and Lou Bell Drive will provide ample parking, and Russo said a second level can be added, if need be. Additional development and parking along Jefferson Avenue is also in the works.
Town Park will also benefit from the bond: Russo said $250,000 will go into park upgrades. Bell said the main pool building and surrounding trails will benefit from those funds.
Also Monday, council:
- Approved a five-year extension of the magistrate’s lease at 68 E. Pike St., affording the county time to improve and add security measures to the property.
- Approved a contract with Enterprise. Canonsburg is leasing four vehicles and working with a fleet manager, who will assist with car maintenance and advise the borough when to trade in for newer models.
- Approved a vacancy property ordinance. Having defined criteria for what constitutes a vacant property will streamline the code enforcement process, said code and zoning enforcement officer Melissa Graff.
Set trick-or-treat for 6 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 31.