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Cranberry receives grant to study retail

Cranberry Township’s retail core, according to township manager Dan Santoro, stretches from the Cranberry Mall, above, on the south through Rochester Road along Route 19. Seb Foltz/Butler Eagle

CRANBERRY TWP — Cranberry Township received a $30,000 state grant to help the municipality plan possible future redevelopment of its “commercial core.”

The Municipal Assistance Program grant from the state Department of Community and Economic Development is aimed at helping Cranberry determine ways to move forward should the current role of retail change.

“The time to plan is when you're well in advance and actually planning, not waiting until it's too late. We know that the whole world of retail is changing, the way we work is changing,” township manager Dan Santoro said. “This is really a study to look at, what are the opportunities for redevelopment in the older retail core in the event that, some day, those start transitioning to something else?”

Cranberry Township’s retail core, according to township manager Dan Santoro, stretches from the Cranberry Mall, above, on the south through Rochester Road along Route 19. Seb Foltz/Butler Eagle

Cranberry Township’s retail core, according to Santoro, stretches from the Cranberry Mall on the south through Rochester Road along Route 19, bumping out toward Executive Drive.

“Sometimes we refer to that area as the ‘super block,’” he quipped.

Although it is unlikely a shift in retail would be a major detriment to the township, it’s important to plan for such an eventuality given the histories of some retail businesses, Santoro said.

“It's not unusual for ... you look at suburban communities across the country, and retail would cannibalize itself for the 'newest' retail,” he said.

Santoro cautioned that such planning would be “looking down the road five, 10, 15 years,” and is unlikely to have a major impact on Cranberry’s “retail core.”

“We want to make sure that we're never behind the 8-ball and things are moving out to other areas,” he said. “It's looking at all the future land use, what's going on in the world and how it might impact a healthy, strong, sustainable Cranberry.”