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January 15, 2014

Resolution: Local municipalities want no part in keeping bridge sidewalk clear

MEADVILLE — Meadville City Council unanimously passed a resolution during its monthly meeting Wednesday night calling on Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to keep a long-standing agreement in place, giving Pennsylvania Department of Transportation responsibility for removing snow, ice and debris from the sidewalk on the Smock Bridge, which joins the city and Vernon Township along the heavily-traveled Routes, 6, 19 and 322. Because the bridge crosses over railroad tracks, it falls under PUC jurisdiction.

“PennDOT is adamant that they do not want to do maintenance,” Meadville City Manager Joe Chriest told council. “We want everyone to know up front that the three municipalities don’t want to do it.” Because the bridge passes over a small triangle of West Mead Township, all three municipalities have shared responsibility for lighting the structure since the bridge was constructed in 1952.

In other business, council formally accepted Allegheny College’s gift to the City of Meadville for 2013 in the amount of $65,000.

In a letter dated Dec. 16, 2013, read aloud during Wednesday’s session by Deputy City Clerk Janet Niedermeyer, Allegheny President James Mullen expressed appreciation for the city’s cooperation with the college on a range of issues. “We are especially grateful to the police and fire departments in ensuring the safety of our campus community,” Mullen wrote.

It was also noted that the gift is in addition to the college’s stormwater management fees paid earlier this year.

“We’re very appreciative of this annual gift,” Mayor Christopher Soff remarked.

According to Finance Director Tim Groves, the city received the first of what would become the annual gifts to the college in 2005. For the first three years, an annual amount of $50,000 was received. Upon the retirement of President Richard Cook in 2007, then-Meadville Mayor Richard Friedberg remarked on the strong commitment made to the city under Cook’s leadership through a payment-in-lieu of taxes agreement.

In 2008, the annual amount was increased to $65,000, where it remains.

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