South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

 
 

By Al Lowe
Contributing Writer 

‘Million dollar solution' awaits funding to begin McArdle Roadway fix

 

June 2, 2009



There's a "million dollar solution" to the drainage problems along Mount Washington's McArdle Roadway that caused "lots of ice" and created potholes last winter.

A City Public Works Department employee told this to attendees at the Mount Washington Community Development Corporation forum meeting on May 21.

Patrick Hassett, the assistant public works director for traffic and engineering, attended that night and brought along two representatives from Mackin Engineering Corp. the company that recently prepared a report on the roadway's conditions.

Mr. Hassett and the two Mackin employees – Dan Piatt, project engineer, and Tom Deister, project manager, spoke of the report and answered questions.

They said that drains behind the retaining wall became clogged with rock and debris. Solutions involve cleaning the rock, putting up netting to contain it and adding a drain to collect water runoff. The project cost is $850,000. It would cost an additional $150,000 to mill and to repair the roadway.

A resident asked if McArdle would be closed to traffic during work on the project. The answer is that one lane of traffic would be open.

The focus now is on finding the funding. "We would like to get something in place before next winter," Mr. Hassett said.

Jim Nolan, a member of the MWCDC board of directors, reminisced about working for the city back in 1948 and using a crane to clear out debris from McArdle.

Another speaker was John Vater, principal, Brashear High School. His subject was the Pittsburgh Promise program, which is a scholarship program available to graduates of all Pittsburgh public schools and charter schools.

He said he was a Brookline resident and had been a teacher at Schenley High School and an administrator at Peabody High School.

 "I want to get the good news out," Mr. Vater said.

Any eligible student has the opportunity to receive up to $5,000 each year for up to four years to pay for expenses related to tuition, books, dorm, fees and meal plan. "Promise" funds are used after federal and state awards and students are asked to apply for aid there also.

Students are eligible for "Promise" if they: will graduate from Pittsburgh Public Schools or one of its charter high schools; are district students and Pittsburgh residents since at least the ninth grade; earn a 2.25 grade average and maintain a 85 percent attendance record; and earn admission to any public or private post-secondary school covered by the Pittsburgh Promise.

Those qualifications will be changing for the 09-10 school year to a 2.5 grade point average and a 90 percent attendance record. "That's what colleges want to see," he said.

Because of the Pittsburgh Promise, "students are more excited about being in school," Mr. Vater said. "A

high school diploma doesn't get you much anymore."

The rationale behind the program is "that you are only as strong as your educated population. We want to keep them in the city limits and revitalize Pittsburgh." He noted that when students leave Pittsburgh to attend college elsewhere they will often relocate in the new cities.

At Brashear from 2001 to 2008 reading proficiency increased from 23 to 66 percent and math proficiency increased from 32 to 59 percent. Three fourths of Brashear students are college bound.

Enrollment at Brashear has been steadily increasing. "They can't pin it on any one thing."

MWCDC also released April's crime statistics for the Mount.

Crimes included:

Four burglaries (on Southern Avenue and Kingsboro, Hallock and Dillworth Streets); five robberies (on Boggs and West Warrington Avenues, Shiloh and Kathleen Streets and Lethans Way); and six thefts from auto (on Southern Avenue and Sycamore, William, Meridan, Bigham and Kearsarge Streets).

An art marketplace will be on display on Shiloh Street noon to 5 p.m. weekends up to Nov. 1, featuring performances and items for sale like paintings, jewelry, photographs, clothing and sculpture. Contact MWCDC Program Manager Greg Panza at 412 481-3220, ext. 203 for more information.

Cinema in the Park will again be shown starting at dusk Saturdays at Grandview Park. The first scheduled feature is "Star Wars: the Clone Wars" on June 13. Call 412 937-3039 or visit www. citiparks.net for more information.

 

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