Tyrone closer to playground project

Tyrone Borough Council is one step closer to transfering $20,000 of its Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds from the Streetscape Project to be used for improvements to Reservoir Park’s playground. A public hearing was held at the Municipal Building on Logan Avenue yesterday and Council will most likely take offical action at its September 3 meeting.
One resident, William Fink, was on hand for yesterday’s hearing and he made it clear that he believed the funds, from the fiscal year of 2000, would be better suited for the HOME Program, a housing rehabilitation program undertaken by the Borough this past spring.
“I don’t mind money being transferred from the monies set aside for Streetscape,” Fink said. “As a taxpayer I do object to CDBG money being used for the park project.” Fink was referring to the $130,000 project that will replace the aged playground equipment at Reservoir Park as well as build a new inline skating rink near the Community Swimming Pool.
“This money should be returned to and used for the HOME Program fund or whatever else is needed throughout the entire community to improve the overall quality of life for Tyrone’s residents,” Fink added. He mentioned residential sidewalks, street improvements and utility upgrades as possible uses.
According to Diana White, representing Improved Dwellings of Altoona (IDA), at least 70 percent of CDBG funds are required to be used to benefit low income activities. Tyrone qualifies as a low to moderate income community, since 51 percent of the community falls into that designation bracket.
She also noted, “CDBG Funds do allow the flexibility to be used for any type of recreation that will benefit the community.” She also pointed out that the equipment would need to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.
The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) is the agency responsible for the CDBG funds, of which Tyrone received $137,395 in 2000. $93,395 was originally budgeted for the Streetscape engineering and construction. Borough Manager Al Drayovitch said that the transfer wouldn’t impact the Streetscape project.
Coucilmember Jim Beckwith, a strong advocate of Reservoir Park, had inquired about the new equipment at the August 12 meeting.
The funding for the inline rink was budgeted for $80,000 and the playground equipment was slated to be $40,000. $10,000 was budgeted for design and engineering.
The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources grant for the projects was $65,000. Tyrone was obligated to match those funds and the Borough budgeted $40,000, received another $20,000 in DCED grants and was still $5,000 short.
At the August 12 meeting it was learned that proposals regarding the playground equipment had come in close to $50,000. Council decided at that time to redesignate $20,000 to cover the initial shortfall, the cost overrun and any unforeseen future expenses.