Council is moving forward with plans to develop a streetscape project that will eventually give Washington Avenue a total makeover.
The borough currently has access to $180,000 in grant money from Allegheny County Economic Development, which could fully fund the estimated $169,000 cost of the project.
“This is great progress for all involved,” said council member Mike Epitropoulos.
This specific project was born out of several meetings that have taken place in recent months by the borough’s revived
The group, which is formed by local leaders in Swissvale, brainstormed and discussed several proactive ways to revitalize the business districts within the borough.
EDAC has been collaborating with Klavon Design Association, Inc., which is providing the design plans for the project. Maria Riley of Wilkinsburg, an employee with Klavon, made a presentation of several potential projects during council’s regular meeting Wednesday night. She ended with the Washington project, which was the official top priority recommendation to council.
“As we discussed the plans, we conducted a vacancy evaluation, looked at streetscape plans and also the efforts that have already come in through the ,” Riley said. “We also analyzed existing conditions, assets and liabilities.”
Klavon and EDAC’s meetings brought about an overall concept envisioning the future of Swissvale’s distinct business districts, which includes Noble Street, Monongahela Avenue and the Washington Avenue areas. Green spaces, community gardens and other initiatives also were discussed as ways to brighten the streets.
While separate streetscape projects were considered for Noble and Monongahela, the EDAC committee chose to recommend moving forward with Washington Avenue first because the work could be completed immediately, while the end result could also emphasize the area as a regional business district.
This project also creates a connection between the separated business districts within the borough as well, Riley said.
The work will span from Monongahela to the bridge, she said.
“We picked out an elegant lamp style, simple garbage cans and small, flowering trees,” Riley said as she presented examples. “The actual length and scope of the project might change, but right now it looks like it will stop at the bridge.”
Next steps include developing construction drawings, details, refining costs and the actual construction.
Newly elected council member has been leading EDAC’s efforts in recent months. He urged council to approve the project’s movement forward Wednesday.
“If we wait, then our consultants will have a month to twiddle their thumbs,” Rapp said. “EDAC was created by the borough to make these recommendations.”
Council members were excited after the motion was made and all approved the current plans.
“I think the presentation was excellent and I commend Darrell for running with it as a new councilman,” Epitropoulos said.