Darrell Rapp is spearheading an effort to improve communication between municipalities and local leaders to create a more effective community.
In a place where Swissvale and Edgewood share the Regent Square business district, open discussion and information is key to solving shared problems.
"When going between municipalities to get answers on certain issues, everything was second or third hand, questions weren't answered and it was apparent that discussions were needed where representatives from all different groups would meet together so answers would be immediate and conversation more free-flowing," Rapp said. "That was the impetus for forming this group."
A board member of the Regent Square Civic Association, Rapp said the committee is focused on collaboration, with members from Edgewood Borough, Swissvale Borough, his own organization and businesses on South Braddock Avenue in the Regent Square district. The first meeting was at the end of November.
"The goal is to identify various issues that could be addressed on this local level to improve our neighborhood, business district and communities," Rapp said. "That can include better communication between municipalities, it can be good for feedback between the different groups and maybe it's to embark on some joint projects that make sense."
The business district committee is now planning a meeting for January.
A specific issue the group plans to address is improving safety at the intersection of South Braddock Avenue and Sanders Street near Typhoon and McBroom's Beer. Half of the street and one curb are in Edgewood, while the other half of the street and curb are in Swissvale. Discussions over a crosswalk and potential for a one-way street are one example of a shared concern across municipalities.
"It's something that is affecting each of the organizations and municipalities, and so the solution and true improvement involves all of those stakeholders," Rapp said. "The collaboration is important across municipal lines."
Edgewood Borough Manager Warren Cecconi said he is looking forward to the work the group will accomplish.
"I think it's always a good idea," he said. "It opens dialogue and you want to make sure the business district stays good. Right now it's running at maximum and 100 percent but we want to keep it that way."
Mayor of Swissvale Deneen Swartzwelder agreed that any effort to improve the area is a good move.
"Anything that enhances it is a great asset to us and I hope they succeed," she said. "The Regent Square area is just amazing."
For more information on the business district committee and how to get involved, contact Rapp at RappD99@aol.com.