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Zelienople continues to revitalize Main Street with parking, community input

People walk down Main Street in Zelienople on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022, during the open-air market. Shane Potter/Butler Eagle

ZELIENOPLE — Borough council is continuing its ongoing effort to revitalize Main Street by acquiring additional parking and by partnering with Downtown Redevelopment Services for professional planning services.

Council voted Monday to purchase a former Citizens Bank parking lot at the corner of Main and East New Castle streets. The lot, owned by Pater Associates, contains about 15 parking spaces.

Andrew Spencer, borough manager, said a lease for the ATM that is in the lot has been renewed, and the property has been appraised for $400,000. The borough will receive income from the lot.

This is an effort to provide more parking spaces for small businesses that don’t have parking for their clientele, according to borough council president Mary Hess.

“Some businesses really struggle that have no parking, and they had asked if there was a possibility that maybe they could lease a couple of those spaces for their customers or clients to help them out,” Hess said. “We want to be able to provide that for them.”

Additionally, an effort to gather community input was approved. Downtown Redevelopment Services is to collect input through surveys and meetings with Zelienople business owners to see what needs to be done in the community.

“We have plans to do the surveys and Zoom calls (with business owners) to tell us how they feel,” said Ben Levenger, president of Downtown Redevelopment Services.

Levenger said his team plans to go to these businesses during operating hours and talk to owners.

This stage of the revitalization effort will cost $15,050 and last from May until October.

“We felt it was time to revisit it and determine what else we need to do to keep the ball rolling through redevelopment,” Hess said.

Efforts started with a comprehensive plan that was completed in 2010. Most of the plan has been accomplished, Hess said.

“We request to embark on this update in 2023 which focuses on the area to be determined most relevant, important and practical to help guide Zelienople into the future,” zoning and code officer Jason Sarver said.

Officer resigns

Council approved the resignation of police officer Michael Petrie, who is leaving to join the U.S. Army. His last day is Thursday, March 30.

“Officer Petrie has been a good police officer. I have enjoyed him and working with him,” Mayor Thomas Oliverio said. “He always had a smile on his face. To see him go, I still have mixed emotions about it, but I do understand, and I wish him the very best.”

Police Chief Jim Miller said a recently hired part-time officer will help with the transition, but the plan is to hire a full-time officer.

Council also moved to appoint Oliverio as council’s representative to the Zelienople Airport Authority to replace council member Gregg Semel.

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