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Municipal News

By Jill Runfola

An Open House was held on March 20, 2019, at the Monessen Salvation Army for Monessen residents to discuss and guide policy decisions related to a Comprehensive Plan.

Monessen 1 Apr 2019
Monessen Deputy Mayor Tony Orzechowski with his wife, Rosaline. The Mayor spoke at the Open House.

Business owners, residents, and city patrons were invited to participate with their input. A large crowd turned out for the event for a chance to address and help change the issues facing the city of Monessen. Topics that were discussed included parks and recreation, economic development, transportation, infrastructure, and housing.

Hosting the meeting was Captain Sue Thwaite of the Monessen Salvation Army, who is also on the Comprehensive Planning Committee. Thwaite highlighted some of the existing positives in Monessen such as a grocery store and gas stations, while other attendees pointed to positive things to build upon such as the city’s rich history, the library, city park, restaurants, engaged citizens, river/riverfront, and dilapidated/vacant buildings coming down.

The Comprehensive Plan came about after the Early Intervention Plan (EIP) was prepared in 2017 to avoid having to declare financial hardship. The EIP recommended that the City develop the Plan to help guide public policy and decision making. Mackin Engineering Senior Planner, Amy L. Wiles formed the committee so that the ideas of the people who live and work in the city be heard. To fund the Comprehensive Plan, recently Monessen received a grant for $90,000 from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, requiring the City match it with $10,000.

Monessen Deputy Mayor Tony Orzechowski, who was in attendance wanted to reassure everyone about the city’s commitment to this effort. “I need you to understand this-- council is breaking barriers and doing things different, and it’s the reason you’re sitting here,” said Orzechowski. “We’ll listen to anybody… We’re not going to do this overnight. It’s going to take years. I ask all of

Monessen2 Apr 2019
Committee Members at the meeting included L-R: Mike Korposh, President MGR Consulting, and Cody Nolen and Amy L. Wiles, both Mackin Engineering Planners.

you to embrace it.”

Wiles, further added, “The plan is a 10-20 year plan. The City hired Mackin Engineering Co., along with subconsultant MGR Consulting to complete the plan. The Open House today is a chance for residents to speak with planning consultants to discuss potential opportunities, issues and help develop a vision for the City’s future. The plan is expected to be adopted in 18 months.”

Wiles concluded that the next step will be to organize focus groups with business owners. A website is in the works, and she will let everyone know when it is available, using it to promote the city. You may contact Wiles, for more info about the Comprehensive Plan at 412-200-5903 or e-mail her at awiles@mackinengineering.com.

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