Revitalization not settling with Plaza

Members of the Ellwood City Revitalization and Economic Development Project presented new ideas to the Ellwood City Council on Monday that will improve not only the aesthetics of the town, but also the safety.

The group was not there to discuss Phase I, which is the construction of the Community Plaza, Stage, and Farmers Market, but rather to ask council for their support of Phase II, which focuses on the streets near the Plaza.


Project Area Map shows the Phase II area in green proposed by Revitalization (the yellow area is Phase I – Community Plaza)

Phase II is designed to completely restore Fifth Street (from Crescent Avenue to Spring Avenue) and Lawrence Avenue (from 4th Street to 6th Street).

For Phase II to be accomplished, Revitalization will have to apply for two grants: TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) and PCTI (Pennsylvania Community Transportation Initiative).

According to members of Revitalization, the TIGER Grant is indisputable. This grant, which focuses directly on safety and economic development, is not only very necessary, but quite advantageous because it won’t cost the borough a single dollar.

The TIGER Grant of $3.2 million will focus on Fifth Street from Crescent to Spring, and will create a safe route to Lincoln High School and restore the crumbling underpass. It will also solve the flooding problem that the borough faced just last year as new storm water systems will be integrated.

Revitalization also presented to council another grant known as PCTI. This grant, administered by PennDOT, will focus on the streetscape along Lawrence Avenue from 4th to 6th streets. They are hoping to tie in the investment of the Ellwood City Library and soon-to-be Community Plaza together.

Yet, this particular grant will cause the borough to come up with a small percentage of the cost, making council feel a bit uneasy with this grant.

This grant, similar to the cost of TIGER, will not be paid completely by the federal government. Instead, 80 percent will be covered and 20 percent must be matched by Ellwood City.

In the end, Ellwood City Council unanimously approved the proposal of Ellwood City Revitalization to apply for the project grants, yet failed to promise the 20 percent match by the borough if the grant is accepted.