Whitehall Mayor Wants More Trees on Route 51
Other notes from Wednesday's borough meeting include the adoption of a hazard mitigation plan and final change orders for the new Whitehall fire station.
Shade Tree Commission
At Wednesday night's Whitehall Borough council meeting, Mayor James F. Nowalk discussed an ordinance that he will formally propose at the next borough meeting that would create a multi-municipal Shade Tree Commission with nearby Baldwin and Brentwood boroughs.
"The commission we're proposing is advisory only," Nowalk said.
Brentwood, Baldwin and Whitehall—along with the Pittsburgh neighborhoods of Carrick and Overbrook—are already part of a multi-municipal planning group for the Route 51 corridor, and the Shade Tree Commission would be an extension of that cooperation.
Greg Jones, the executive director of Economic Development South, is working closely with the shade tree proposal and will be talking to Baldwin and Brentwood officials about it, as well.
Although some shade tree commissions have the role of permitting and defining standards, the initial role of this commission is not that.
"The goal is to get the entity created, take a look at what assets we have, do an inventory and do an analysis of where we can plant more (trees) and where we can take better care of what we have," Jones said.
The commission can choose to define standards at a later date.
"We view this as something that can really impact neighborhoods as a means to attract businesses and residents," Jones said. "Trees are a big part of the character."
The commission will also work to identify sources of assistance, such as TreeVitalize, that will offer free trees if the commission is created and four hours of free training for tree caretakers. TreeVitalize officials will also encourage residents to plant more trees.
A motion was passed to create an ordinance for Nowalk's proposal, and the ordinance will be presented at the next borough meeting—Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 8 p.m. (UPDATE available here.)
Hazard Mitigation Plan
Whitehall Borough Manager James E. Leventry asked the Whitehall Council to consider the borough's adopting of Allegheny County's hazard mitigation plan, developed by the Allegheny County Emergency Management Agency to reduce losses to life and property by natural and human-made hazards.
Federal law requires that the plan be updated every four to five years. Leventry said that most municipalities in Allegheny adopt the county plan as opposed to developing ones of their own. Adopting the plan gives borough officials the opportunity to obtain hazard mitigation program funds in the event of a disaster.
The Whitehall Council adopted the plan by a unanimous vote.
Whitehall Fire Station Update
Also at Wednesday's meeting, architect Mark Edelmann reported that construction for the new Whitehall Fire Company station along Route 51 is nearly completed.
The council approved three final change orders for the construction at a total of $16,765. Details of the changes include enclosing exhaust ducts on the building, an equipment mezzanine and independent concrete testing. Edelmann reported that construction is well under its $150,000 originally allotted contingency budget.
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