Ebensburg Borough adjusts sidewalk project

EBENSBURG — Compromises were made after 18 petitions were sent to Ebensburg Borough officials, urging them to rethink an upcoming sidewalk project.

Still, East Sample Street residents, who offered complaints over the last two months, said they were not pleased at a Monday evening meeting.

“We really don’t think we need a sidewalk, period,” said Pat Kelly of East Sample Street.

Last month, the residents expressed concerns that work would require the elimination of trees, driveways and retaining walls along the proposed sidewalk path.

“Sidewalks do not make up for what we are going to lose in landscaping … and the trees that we are going to lose on either side,” Kelly said.

In the East Sample Street area, sidewalks were proposed for the southern side of the roadway from its intersection with Center Street to its intersection with Roberts Street.

That work is just part of a much larger project.

In June, a majority of Ebensburg Borough Council members voted to pay L.R. Kimball $43,125 for sidewalk design work as part of a plan to address problem sidewalks and, in some cases, to install sidewalks where they currently do not exist.

Completing all sidewalk work at one time could be cheaper because of the larger scale, Borough Manager Dan Penatzer said.

In June, borough officials said the entire project would cost about $1.77 million for the replacement of 8,740 square yards of sidewalk and 21,405 linear feet of curb.

It was East Sample Street residents who filed the petitions, and the petitions prompted a compromise, Penatzer said.

Now, the north side of East Sample will receive a new sidewalk east of Caroline Street — that comes with the exception of the street’s 400 and 500 blocks, which will a receive a sidewalk on the southern side, Penatzer said.

“Our initial intent was to avoid major conflicts with driveways and retaining walls,” Penatzer said.

Stormwater issues along East Sample Street, which result in icy spots during winter months, also were discussed, with Penatzer explaining that installation of curbing, as well as the resurfacing of the roadway, could help to ease concerns.

But West Sample Street residents were in attendance, too. They were there to contest sidewalk plans, which call for installation along both sides of the street from Center Street to West Street.

However, they chose to speak out several times in the middle of the meeting instead of waiting until a scheduled public comment period and were silenced by council President Doug Tusing.

Later, a woman stood to criticize borough officials for not allowing the West Sample residents to speak before sidewalks were voted on.

Penatzer responded, insisting that he has listened to concerns and been open and transparent throughout the process.

Council members voted on each street in the project individually, with some dissention on certain roads.

Mirror Staff Writer Sean Sauro is at 946-7535.