By Al Lowe
Several innovative ideas were brought up at the March 31 Dormont council agenda session, including the suggestion that free parking be permitted after 3 p.m. Friday and on Saturday as a way of boosting business for the local merchants.
The idea came from junior council member Ryan Staiger, a high school student who attends meetings, joins in discussions but can't vote. He also asked free parking on those days be extended to the borough's three parking lots.
But Mayor Thomas Lloyd said this had already been tried once before and found unsuccessful because merchants and employees used the parking spots.
Councilman Joseph Costanzo offered an alternate suggestion. He asked that the three lots owned by the borough be opened for free parking on Saturdays. “Let's give it a shot and see what happens,” said Costanzo, asking it be done on a trial basis for a month.
Council has not decided yet when it would implement his proposal.
Council also considered Police Chief Russell McKibben's suggestion that the number of parking spaces allotted to those residents with “handicapped” license plates or cards somehow be reduced. Those spaces already “grandfathered in” would retain the special status.
Some streets in the borough have too many such spaces, borough officials said. They are afraid the number will increase.
The chief said he was sympathetic to those who are handicapped but, like many boroughs, Dormont's parking is sometimes scarce. Also, those who use the spaces sometime already have driveways or garages, he said. Sometimes they don't realize the spaces aren't reserved for them but are for anyone with handicap disabilities.
A proposal on another matter came from council member Louise Pitcher, who wants to set up an organization called Friends of the Park that would be similar to Friends of the Library and would seek improvements and grant money to fund them. She said she wanted to give a more detailed presentation at a later time.
Borough officials have received many complaints from residents who did not receive the borough newsletter. “I didn't get mine and I complained real fast,” Councilman Jim Sparvero said. Also parts of Mount Lebanon and Beechview got it and they weren't supposed to, Council President Ed Good said.
The mailing was included in the Pennysaver newspaper and “stuck out like a sore thumb,” Good said. But he admitted some people don't look closely at their mail and probably threw both publications away.
Borough manager John Marquart will try to resolve the problems.
The annual Scouting for Food project is scheduled for 9 a.m. April 12, council member Maggie Mitro said. Cub Scout Troop 870 will pick up bags of food; the bags were already distributed to be hung on the doors.
The Historical Society is requesting an additional room in the municipal building for display of memorabilia and members said they would make the necessary repairs that are needed for more space. Council is expected to vote on whether to allocate the additional space at its regular meeting.
Kristen Denne, who will be the new assistant manager, attended her first meeting and council is expected to officially appoint her at its regular meeting on the first Monday of the month.
Council asked her to start her duties and plan to make the appointment retroactive to her starting date. She was chosen from three candidates.
After the meeting she praised the supportive council, the excellent input from the public and the high quality of the administration.
Denne received her master's in public administration degree from the University of Pittsburgh in December, 2002.