HARMONY — Infrastructure improvements, modest business growth, and new parks and programs are expected this year, according to officials from Zelienople, Harmony and Jackson Township.
They highlighted their achievements and outlined their plans Feb. 20 at the annual State of the Union luncheon sponsored by the Zelienople-Harmony Area Chamber of Commerce.
The borough has undertaken infrastructure improvements over the past year, which will continue when winter ends.
The Main Street water line and storm sewer project will finish up this year. The last major item will be the installation of a stormwater culvert in the area of Walgreens.
Once the project is completed, the state Department of Transportation has tentatively planned to repave Main Street, said Don Pepe, borough manager.
He also said, “The borough's parks have really blossomed.”
The new amphitheater is done and will be available in June.
The playground has been replaced, the swimming pool has been renovated and new restrooms have been built. The tennis courts will be redone, and a parking area has been paved.
The borough recently hired Alecia Flood as the part-time parks manager to provide programming including swimming and tennis lessons this year.
Gary Such, borough council vice president, said downtown Harmony is seeing new businesses starting up.
“Our business revitalization is picking up steam,” he said.
Historic Harmony continues to attract people with more than 5,000 visiting its annual Christmas market.
Other events were hosted and are planned again for this year including a two-day bluegrass festival and the New Year's Silvester celebration.
A unique event, the North America Unicycling Convention and Competition is set for July 20 to 27.
Chris Rearick, Jackson Township manager, said the township last year saved $250,000 with the intention of setting up a fund to pay for capital projects.
Recently, the township has completed road improvements in the areas of Pattison Street, Zehner School Road, and Textor Hill and Ridge roads.
The Jackson's Pointe development continues to be successful with UPS bringing 40 jobs, and Lab Cam another 40 to 50 jobs.
Highmark with another 180 employees also will operate in the commerce park, which now only has one building space available.
The second phase of that project is for restaurants and retail space and could take shape later this year, said Rearick.
“We're beginning work on a new comprehensive plan,” said Rearick, who hopes to engage township businesses to get their input on the plan.
The township also is looking at building a new municipal building that would house its police department and business offices.
Police, fire, EMS
In Zelienople, Fire Chief Rob Reeb said the borough's volunteer department answered 200 calls in 2012. It has 55 members, who participated in 3,240 hours of training and served more than 6,000 hours of volunteer services.
Zelienople Mayor Tom Oliverio talked about the borough's squad of special fire police that has seven members.
Last year, they answered about 65 calls for traffic control during fires and other emergencies. They also volunteer during the major events for traffic control along Main Street.
Jackson Police Chief Terry Seilhamer said his department is doing a vehicle replacement program for its seven vehicles. It replaced three vehicles in the past two years and will replace one this year and one in 2014.
In the wake of the Sandy Hook, N.J., school shooting, Seilhamer said he has been meeting with Seneca Valley School District officials to go over their emergency response and security plans.
The department provides a full-time officer at the Jackson Township campus.
At Harmony EMS, president Jay Grinnell said the service answered more than 7,000 calls in 2012.
The ambulance service has 31 full-time employees and serves 10 townships and boroughs. It has an annual budget of $1.5 million.