As we start 2017, we’d like to review the progress that was made in our community by the Ambridge Borough Council, Mayor and staff this past year. It is through their coordinated efforts, great strides have been made to help bring about significant improvements to our infrastructure, public safety, parks and sense of community. This past year has brought about the following highlights and accomplishments:
- Replaced the roof on the Borough Building, a $106,000 project with TRS Roofing.
- Completed the 2016 Road Program that repaved: Church Street, Kennedy Drive, 11th Street, 14th Street, Panek Park’s Upper Road, Duss Avenue (400 Block), Intersection of 5th and Elm, 9th Street at Merchant St., and Pine Street
- Designed, implemented, and secured project funding for the 2017 Road Program – road construction to start in the spring of 2017.
- Planted 25+ new street trees in the Historic District and issued annual tree maintenance contract that cleaned up many problem areas
- Partnered with the Municipal Authority to repave Park Road and 4th Street. Through this partnership the Municipal Authority saved funds on their sewer project and the Borough received two roads completely repaved.
- Partnered with Columbia Gas for new gas lines installed along Park Road, Maplewood Avenue, Lower Alley, 6th & 7th Streets, and throughout the Historic District.
- The Public Works crew completed many in-house repairs to storm-sewer catch basins and waterway channels saving thousands of dollars versus contracting out this work.
- Completed extensive storm-sewer repairs at the intersections of Lenz Avenue and 17th Street, and 8th Street and Maplewood Avenue.
- Purchased and placed into service new Public Works Equipment including a backhoe, hydraulic angle broom for the skid-steer, wood-chipper and ordered a dump truck that is expected to be delivered in early 2017.
- Upgraded the streetlights along Merchant Street within the Historic District to LED’s to save energy, funds, reduce maintenance costs, and the project also added electrical outlets to energize Christmas lights.
- Awarded $336,083.09 in outside grants for multiple projects in the community.
- Borough Newsletter won 1st Place Recognition in state-wide contest sponsored by PA State Association of Boroughs.
- Adopted the 2017 Budget, balanced spending plan 12th year without a tax increase.
- Created and Adopted an Employee Handbook
- Established Municipal Record Retention Policy and Program
- Secured “A” grade Standard and Poor’s credit rating for 2016 Bond Issuance
- Brought all three pension plans into IRS Tax Code compliance and rewrote each plan into single usable documents.
- Joined the PA Local Government Investment Trust, enabling investment of public funds.
- 2016 visits to www.AmbridgeBoro.org totaled 56,743 for the year, and the “Borough of Ambridge” Facebook Page reached 1,137 total page “likes”
Public Safety (Police & Fire)
- Promoted Robert Gottschalk to Fire Chief and Don Larrick, Jr., to Assistant Fire Chief
- Hired Martin Zimmel (a retired Allegheny County Detective and former Crescent Township Police Chief) as the new Ambridge Police School Resource Officer assigned to the High School.
- Coordinated the filming of the Netflix television series, “Mindhunter” at multiple locations in Ambridge throughout 2016.
- Secured $30,000 in Fire Department Equipment Grants
- Ambridge Police and Firefighters coordinated logistics, crowd control and assisted the US Secret Service with the October 2016 Presidential Campaign Rally for Donald Trump at the High School.
- In September, the Council made order through Brindlee Mountain Fire Apparatus to purchase two fire engines, both trucks being “new-to-us” refurbished apparatus. The purchases include a 2008 Pierce 75’ ladder truck (replaces our 1973 American LaFrance Snorkel Truck) and a 2004 Pierce custom pumper (replaces our 1977 American LaFrance pumper that will be placed on reserve status.) Both units are expected to be placed into service by the second quarter of 2017.
- The Ambridge Police Department responded to 14,019 requests for service in 2016 and the Fire Department answered 314 emergency calls this past year.
Parks and Recreation
- Approved filming of “Friday Night Tykes” at Panek Park for the Ambridge Little Bridgers Football Team.
- Community Events: co-hosted the successful annual Ambridge Fall Festival of Churches at PJ Caul Park, the Halloween Parade, Rotary Club Car Cruise, and July 4th Fireworks in Panek Park
- Received a grant through the Rotary Club to add lighting to the H&H Basketball Courts on 11th Street. The Basketball Courts and Hockey Court were also professionally repainted this year.
- Through a donation campaign organized by the Borough’s Electrician, a second electric service was installed in PJ Caul Park that will help with community events in the park.
Community Redevelopment / Planning
- Two Façade Improvement Projects were completed this year using the County Grant Program; since the program’s inception in 1985, 120 facades have been improved in Ambridge for a total investment of $2,300,518.75 in our community.
- Working with the Borough’s Downtown Development Committee, updated the Zoning Ordinance to “Right-Size” our downtown, amending the permitted uses of properties on Merchant Street.
- Worked with the Chamber of Commerce and NIRA Engineers to significantly lower commercial occupancy permit fees.
- Partnered with the PA Historic Museum Commission to co-sponsor the 2017 National Main Street Conference in Pittsburgh; enabled conference trainings on Historic Preservation to be held in Ambridge. Efforts paid for via a state grant.
- Partnered with the Rotary Club for a new “Welcome to Ambridge” gateway sign that welcomes motorists to Ambridge at the intersection of 8th Street and Route 65.
- Received funding and have coordinated an effort to develop a feasibility study to preserve the “Bachelor’s Quarters” of the Harmonist Society located at 284 13th Street.
- Continued uniform reimplementation of the Rental Operating License and Inspection Program. 34 properties cited for not complying with the 2016-17 program.
- Partnered with Beaver County Community Development to raze blighted buildings including the demolition of 451 Merchant Street.
- Reactivated the Historical Architectural Review Board; completed two specialized trainings for the board members and the Board reviewed and issued three Certificates of Appropriateness for improvements in the Historic District.
- Through persistent code enforcement efforts, saw through the cleanup of the former American Bridge Company Office Building site at the corner of 4th Street and Park Road.
- Improved the Food Establishment Health Inspection Program, 75 establishments were inspected and licensed in 2016, and the Health Officer coordinated multiple “Serve Safe” training courses here in Ambridge to help train area food managers and handlers on the importance of food safety.
- Coordinated a Community Tire Collection Event on October 8th, resulting in 207 tires being collected and properly recycled versus being illegally dumped or becoming an eyesore.
As a community, working united, sharing a vision for a bright future we stand poised to use the progress made in 2016 as a catalyst for even a better 2017. In 2017, some of the projects that are slated include a large road improvement campaign, blight removal throughout the town, equipment upgrades and additional staffing within the Fire Department, and design of the Merchant Street Street-scape Project. We thank everyone for their involvement this past year, as we all have played a role, working as a community, in moving Ambridge forward.