Armstrong County News
Property ready for demolition under County's Blight Remediation plan. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Ceschini   
Friday, 25 January 2019 14:39

A vacant former duplex in Kittanning Borough, which is slated for demolition, is the latest project targeted by Armstrong County in its fight against blight.

The county has worked closely with the borough to identify problem properties. The demolition of 150 Diamond Way will be the third demolition in the county in recent weeks. Two similar projects were completed in Leechburg along Siberian Avenue.

State Sen. Don White (R-41st), who helped the county secure funding to assist in blight remediation efforts, commended Kittanning officials, the Armstrong Board of Commissioners and the Department of Planning and Development for working together to deal with problem properties.

Property ready for demolition under County's Blight Remediation plan.

Local, county and state officials gather Friday, Jan. 18 in front of a blighted structure in Kittanning Borough before its

scheduled demolition. From left: Kittanning Councilmen Joseph Kiehlmeier and Scott Davis; Armstrong County Commissioner

Pat Fabian; State Sen. Don White; Armstrong County Commissioner Jason Renshaw; Armstrong County Commissioner George  Skamai.

Leechburg Blighted Property Demolished PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Ceschini   
Wednesday, 02 January 2019 15:58


Armstrong County’s blight remediation efforts have targeted two vacant properties along Siberian Avenue in Leechburg Borough.

A week before Christmas, number 137 was torn down by Baker Excavating & Contracting. The other structure – a former duplex at numbers 125-127 – has also been slated for demolition.

On Friday, Dec. 21, 2018 Armstrong County Commissioner Pat Fabian met with Leechburg Mayor Wayne Dobos at the demolition site. They were joined by the county’s Department of Planning and Development’s Executive Director Darin Alviano and Program Manager Brigid Beatty.

“It started with this guy,” Commissioner Fabian said, giving a nod toward the mayor. “He was the one who brought up the issue of blight and asked us what we could do about it.”

The issue of blight was raised in late 2016 during one of the Board of Commissioners’ regional town hall meetings by Mayor Dobos, who at that time was on Leechburg Council. The development of a Blight Remediation Plan followed. Two separate grants – a $100,000 Community Development Initiatives Program Grant and a $100,000 Keystone Community Program Grant – both from the Department of Community and Economic Development were obtained after discussions took place between county officials and State Sen. Don White (R-41st) about community revitalization.

In July 2017 the county-appointed Blight Task Force recommended to the commissioners that some of the grant money be allocated to demolish three blighted properties. Those included the two properties on Siberian Avenue in Leechburg and one former duplex on Diamond Way in Kittanning.

In 2018 Leechburg Borough entered into an agreement with the county to acquire the two problem properties out of the county repository and to pay for the structures to be demolished. The county in turn will reimburse the borough for the cost of the demolitions using grant funds. Kittanning Borough has entered into a similar agreement with the county.

The remaining funds from the grant will go toward Land Bank activities. On Dec. 20, 2018 the Armstrong County Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance authorizing the Redevelopment Authority of the County of Armstrong (RACA) to act as a land bank. This will facilitate the return of vacant, abandoned, tax delinquent and blighted properties to productive use. It is one more tool the county can use to combat community deterioration, improve the quality of neighborhoods, foster economic growth and spur investments.

Ribbon-Cutting for Market Street Revitalization Project PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Ceschini   
Friday, 07 December 2018 08:23


A Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony was held near the steps of the Armstrong County Courthouse on December 5, 2018 marking the completion of the Kittanning Market Street Revitalization Project.

The event drew a crowd of dignitaries, business representatives, members of the public and those who had been involved in the project.

State Sen. Don White (R-41st), who was instrumental in helping secure a substantial portion of grant funding for the project, praised the collaborative efforts of all the groups, agencies and individuals who had helped bring about Market Street's transformation.

Joining him at the ribbon-cutting were the following: State Rep. Jeff Pyle (R-60th); Chairman Pat Fabian, Armstrong County Board of Commissioners; Vice-Chairman Jason Renshaw, Armstrong County Board of Commissioners; Secretary George Skamai, Armstrong County Board of Commissioners; Councilwoman Betsy Wilt, Kittanning Borough; Chairman Andy Bradigan, Kittanning Revitalization Committee; Assistant Director Carmen Johnson, Armstrong County Department of Planning  and Development; President Gordon Taylor, Senate Engineering Company; Project Engineer Phil Hermen, Senate Engineering Company; Bryan Kiskadden, M&B Services.

The scope of completed work has included sidewalk replacement with bump-outs for safer pedestrian crossing, landscaping, underground utility line relocation, new traffic signals/controllers, new mast arms/poles, new ADA ramps and crosswalks, converting McKean Street to 2-way traffic, and the installation of new light poles, benches, landscaping, flower baskets and trash receptacles. A standing clock, which was funded through a private donor, was erected near NexTier Bank and Citizens Bank.

The project also involved paving a portion of South Grant Avenue, the section of Jefferson Street from Arch to Mulberry, and the section of McKean Street from Arch to Jacob. There have also been ADA improvements to the walkways in the project area and improvements to the Jefferson Street Parking Lot and several alleys. In addition to the revitalization project, PENNDOT paved the entire length of Market Street. Grant funding was used to reconstruct Jacob Street, helped pave Mulberry Street, the McKean Street Parking Lot and a few alleys.

This project was paid for through a combination of funding streams that included a local share from Kittanning Borough; Redevelopment Capital Assistance Program Grant (RACP); Economic Development Initiative Grant through the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development(PA DCED); The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PENNDOT;  Multimodal Transportation Fund grant through the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA); Liquid Fuels funds provided by the Armstrong County Commissioners; Pennsylvania Community Transportation Initiative (PCTI); Smart Transportation Funding grant through the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission; The Armstrong County Industrial Development Council; Keystone Communities Program Grant; Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds; private donations from individuals and businesses including F & M Bank; and Rosebud Mining Company.

Written by Mike Ceschini   
Thursday, 01 November 2018 15:09


Issues related to regional transportation and development plans were on the minds of Armstrong County residents and stakeholders who attended the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commissions’ (SPC) public meeting on Monday, Oct. 29 in the Armstrong County Commissioners’ Conference Room at the Annex Building in Kittanning.

More than 25 people attended the event to weigh in on current and future projects. The purpose of the meeting was to gather information and data to help SPC develop its long-range transportation plan.

SPC asked attendees for input on prioritizing strategies that would best address five “forces of change” that will have an impact on Armstrong County and the other nine counties of southwestern Pennsylvania over the next 25 years.

Forces of Change with significant potential effects on transportation and development have been identified in five broad categories: Demographics, Technology, Economy, Environment, and Funding.

During the interactive meeting, each attendee had the opportunity to pinpoint what they thought were priorities and growing trends for the region. One map focused on recreational trails, highlighting the movement toward a connection of a regional trail network.

A number of residents expressed their desire for improvements on Route 28 North from Kittanning to I-80, in addition to the continued improvements on Route 422 to Indiana.

“The commissioners were very encouraged by the turnout for this meeting. We applaud and thank all those who attended,” said Commissioner Pat Fabian, who attended the meeting. “It is important that the needs and priorities of Armstrong county residents are being heard on a regional level.”

The SPC is developing a regional long-range plan and those strategies identified regionally as a priority will guide planning efforts now and into the future. SPC will be back out in the spring to present a draft of the Regional Long-Range Plan to county residents.

Armstrong County Participates in Rural Blight Panel PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Ceschini   
Wednesday, 31 October 2018 15:22


Staff from the Department of Planning and Development joined representatives from Greene and McKean counties in a panel discussion on rural blight during the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania’s Homes Within Reach Conference in Harrisburg on October, 29, 2018.

“This was such a great opportunity to not only share how Armstrong County has been laying the groundwork to help combat blight in our communities, but also to hear the approach other rural counties are taking,” said Brigid Beatty, municipal services coordinator with the Armstrong County Department of Planning and Development.

The topic: Effective Approaches for Addressing Blight in Extremely Rural Areas, covered issues of property blight, effective tools for addressing rural blight, and different ways of overcoming the limited capacity of staffing and resources in rural communities.

Participating in a statewide conference to explore effective approaches in blight remediation allows us to better fine-tune our efforts here, noted Darin Alviano, Executive Director of the Armstrong County Department of Planning and Development.

“Armstrong County is out in front on the effort to mitigate blighted properties in its municipalities,” Alviano said. “I am very encouraged on the work that has been done by Brigid and my predecessor Rich Palilla. Helping municipalities find productive reuses for these properties to better their communities and get them back on the tax rolls is a priority for the Department”.

SPC is hosting Public Meeting PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Ceschini   
Wednesday, 24 October 2018 09:45


Abigail Stark, Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission
412-391-5590 ext. 343
email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC) is updating its regional long range transportation and development plan. SPC is the regional planning agency serving the 10-county Southwestern Pennsylvania region. The long range transportation and development plan is the mechanism for connecting the Regional Vision to the region’s official program of projects, programs and actions.

SPC will be hosting a public meeting for Armstrong County on October 29th. The meeting will be an open house format to gather input and facilitate discussion. The public is invited to attend at any time between the hours of 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Armstrong County Commissioner’s Conference Room: 450 Market Street, Kittanning.

At this meeting, participants will be able to discuss particular projects or needs in their community, discuss investment priorities, and prioritize strategies to address regional issues. This meeting is an excellent opportunity for municipalities, businesses, and the public to discuss their community priorities, issues, and vision. Tell SPC what you think are the Smart Moves for transportation and development in your community and our changing region.


The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC) is the region's forum for collaboration, planning and public decision-making. As the designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the ten-county region including the City of Pittsburgh and the counties of Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington, and Westmoreland, SPC is responsible for planning and prioritizing the use of all state and federal transportation funds allocated to the region. As the Local Development District (LDD) and Economic Development District for Southwestern Pennsylvania (as designated by the U.S. Appalachian Regional Commission and the U.S. Department of Commerce), SPC establishes regional economic development priorities and provides a wide range of public services to the region.

Amstrong Recycling Center No Longer Accepting Used Motor Oil PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Ceschini   
Thursday, 23 August 2018 09:38


The Progressive Workshop of Armstrong County (PWAC) has announced that the Armstrong Recycling Center will no longer be accepting used motor oil.

Previously, used motor oil had been used to generate heat for the Recycling Center at its location at the Armsdale Complex in Rayburn Township.

“However, now there are no free alternatives for disposal of used oil,” said Matt Ardeno, PWAC vice president of production and sales. “The center cannot afford to accrue costs associated with its collection and therefore has no choice but to discontinue accepting it.”

Materials that continue to be accepted at the Armstrong Recycling Center include the following: Newspapers; office paper/magazines; corrugated cardboard; aluminum cans; steel cans; #1 and #2 plastic bottles and jugs; green, clear and brown glass bottles and jars.

For more information about the Armstrong County Recycling Program contact Jennifer Smith, Recycling Coordinator, at 724-543-2599 ext. 221 or at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Kittanning Borough Seeks Grant For Facade Upgrades in Kittanning PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Ceschini   
Thursday, 02 August 2018 09:10


Kittanning Borough is once again applying for a Keystone Communities Façade Grant through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development for up to $50,000 for improvements to the exteriors of eligible buildings in the central business district of Kittanning Borough.

If awarded, the money will help give a facelift to commercial buildings in the focus area. The maximum amount per storefront façade would be $5,000 and must be matched dollar for dollar by the business owner/building owner. A side or corner of a commercial building bordering a public lot or street will also be considered for exterior improvements, up to $5,000.

Armstrong County Department of Planning & Development will be assisting Kittanning Borough with the application.

“Updating the facades of local businesses will complement the revitalization efforts within the Borough.  We are hopeful that DCED will look favorably upon our grant application and award the façade grant to the Borough,” said Carmen Johnson, Interim Executive Director of the Armstrong County Department of Planning and Development.

Eligible projects include: storefront façade; exterior restoration/painting; architectural elements and additions; awnings; exterior lighting; lighting signage; and signs.

If funded, the borough will hold a grant round during which time all interested parties can submit applications to be reviewed by a design committee. If awarded, funds are expected to become available sometime in the summer of 2019.

Those interested are asked to contact Carmen E. Johnson, Interim Executive Director with the Department of Planning and Development, at 724-548-3721 or by email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Rural Valley Borough Residents Surveys PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Ceschini   
Thursday, 12 July 2018 07:06


Rural Valley Borough officials have a wish list of potential projects that need to be tackled, including upgrades to the borough’s water system. But they need help from residents before they can begin to take on those projects.

That’s because the borough is planning to apply for funding through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which requires residents to fill out a Demographic Survey.

Each year the county receives CDBG grant funds. Any project considered for CDBG funding must meet the eligibility and fundability requirements; therefore, demographic information is necessary.

Armstrong County Department of Planning and Development – on behalf of the Armstrong Board of Commissioners – will assist Rural Valley Borough in conducting those surveys.

“Rural Valley residents were randomly selected to complete the Demographic Survey,” said Kathy Heilman, of the county’s Planning and Development Department.

The surveys were mailed July 12th, with the requested return date of July 31st.

Rural Valley Borough Council President William Spera has asked that all residents who receive surveys to please return the completed surveys using the self-addressed stamped envelope provided.

All information will be held in the strictest of confidence. Questions may be directed to Kathy Heilman at 724-548-3720 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Broadband Availability and Access in Rural Pennsylvania PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Ceschini   
Thursday, 28 June 2018 11:15

Broadband Availability and Access in Rural Pennsylvania

The Center for Rural Pennsylvania is currently sponsoring research, Broadband Availability and Access in Rural Pennsylvania, to analyze and assess broadband availability in Pennsylvania, and is asking Pennsylvania residents to participate in the research by taking the broadband speed test at

The test results will help Pennsylvania State University researchers, led by Professor Sascha Meinrath, to measure actual internet speeds. The test will also provide participants with information about their broadband connection.  

If you’d like to help the Center for Rural Pennsylvania and our research partners at Penn State University map broadband access in Pennsylvania, please visit and take the broadband speed test. Thanks for your help.

The Center for Rural Pennsylvania
625 Forster St., Room 902
Harrisburg, PA 17120

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