South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Street paving is in Mt. Oliver Boro's future this year


The borough’s parks, a new trick-or-treat day, and loitering outside businesses were among the topics at the July 20 meeting of Mount Oliver council.

Absent were council members Billie Michener and Amber McGough, and Mayor James Cassidy.

In the engineer’s report, borough manager Ricky Hopkinson said paving is planned this year for Carl St., Koehler St., and Hays Ave. (Quincy to the borough).

Council voted to pay R&B Contracting $69,907.50 and Palombo Landscaping $41,837.40 for work in Ormsby Park Phase II.

R&B has the fence, stair railing landscaping and parking lot paving left to complete. Palombo has the rubber play surface, benches, and pavilions remaining.

The LED street light conversion kits have been installed, and pole relocation is being worked on. It is part of decorative street lighting, Phase II.

In the code enforcement report from inspector Chuck Knaus for June 5 to July 8, Councilman Frank Bernardini reported there were 39 complaints; 27 rental inspections (37 units); 56 violation/notices; 18 citations; three legal actions; and two occupancy inspections.

Mr. Bernardini said Mr. Knaus does more in his job than when two people did the job.

Mr. Hopkinson said the borough has funds for streetscape. He would like to see a master plan developed, likely in the fall, for a Brownsville Rd. streetscape that involves input from residents and businesses.

In the parks and recreation report, Councilman Nick Viglione said planning is underway for an Oct. 3 festival to run from noon to 7 p.m.

Mr. Hopkinson said it will be reminiscent of community day, but without fireworks. A band and stage will be part of the event.

Regarding another upcoming event -- Halloween -- he said some residents are tired of having to distribute candy two days: on Saturday afternoon during the borough’s trick-or-treat hours and when celebrated by the city on Halloween evening.

Council then voted 5-0 to hold the borough’s trick-or-treat hours this year from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 31, just as with the city.

An attendee reminded everyone the borough will celebrate its 125-year anniversary in 2017.

Mr. Bernardini reminded everyone that borough parks close at 9 p.m., and anyone caught destroying or defacing a park will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

In the public safety report, Councilwoman Barbara Keener said she is still concerned about youngsters crossing the construction work at Ormsby Park to play basketball.

Youngsters are knocking down the fence and entering the site. The police chase them away, but they return to play basketball in the park.

She said while it does keep them off the streets, the borough’s liability is a concern.

She also reported the borough received a chip reader from Animal Friends. It makes it possible to determine who a stray dog belongs to as long as the dog has a microchip, which a veterinarian can painlessly inject beneath the pet’s skin.

In the public safety report, police Chief Matthew Juzwick reported there were 561 total calls in June.

So far this year, the police department’s drug task force made 230 drug-related arrests; and seized $20,027 in cash, nine illegal firearms, 2,440 stamp bags of heroin, 206 prescription pills, and more.

Heroin is the largest drug problem in the borough.

The chief also reported parking enforcement wrote 175 borough tickets in June.

During the public works report, council accepted a bid for rock salt for the upcoming winter season at $69.29 per ton, $10 less than last year.

The rate is through the South Hills Area Council of Goverments (SHACOG).

Council President Darnell Sains said if a municipality is not in with a council of governments (COG), it won’t get good prices.

Next, council adopted an ordinance amending the borough code authorizing the borough manager to discipline employees up to and including suspension. Mr. Sains said council backs the manager 100 percent.

In the solicitor’s report, council voted to sell a vacant lot at 128 Frederick St. for $1,200, and a vacant lot at 1614 Arlington Ave. for $1,000.

In the question-and-answer session, an attendee said the stop sign at the bottom of Quincy and Transverse cannot be seen due to overhanging brush. Mr. Sains said it will be cleared.

The attendee also complained about speeding on Penn Ave. Mr. Sains said the police chief would look into it, but that numerous borough streets have the same problem.

Next, a resident who is a new business owner said his patrons are harassed by police when congregating outside his Brownsville Rd. restaurant.

Mr. Bernardini said other businesses along the corridor complain about loitering, and those people are forced to move, too.

The attendee asked why customers can’t stand outside and smoke and talk to others. He also does not have air conditioning in the building, which prompts patrons to step outside.

“I want to do business,” he said.

Mr. Sains said there have been problems in that space previously, and the police have to secure the area for other businesses.

But considering the borough does not offer anything for youngsters to do, and the library is closed, he said he would like the police to be more conscientious.

Chief Juzwick said 911 calls are received about the congregating outdoors.

Mr. Sains told the attendee he needs documentation if he feels harassment is occurring. He should ask for the officers’ names and badge numbers.

Another attendee said she will not enter his restaurant if there are lots of people out front. She said the adults won’t move, and the youngsters are disrespectful.

In borough news, the Mount Oliver borough community group and the Mount Oliver block watch meet next on Aug. 12 in the borough building.

From 6 to 7 p.m., the community group meets, with the beautification of the borough its focus. Afterward, from 7 to 8 p.m., the block watch meets to discuss crime and more. The police chief attends most of the meetings to answer questions and address concerns.

The next council meeting will be on Aug. 17.


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