Borough: Curb ramp replacements should be done this week

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Work has resumed on the downtown traffic light project, with the cement contractor replacing curb ramps.

Borough Manager Ben White said at Monday’s Punxsy Borough Council meeting that the last of the curb ramps will be constructed this week.

Power Contracting will also resume installing the new traffic signals in preparation for activation within the next few weeks, he said.

Council member Eric Story asked why the downtown intersections have been changed to “No Turn On Red.” White said it’s because many of the intersections in downtown do not meet the sight distance requirements.

The Front Street and East Mahoning intersection near the Central Fire Hall will continue to permit traffic turning on red, and the East End Bridge traffic will still turn right on red onto Hampton Avenue, White said. Mahoning Street downtown will be paved at the end of April.

Also at Monday’s meeting, council:
• Reversed its vote on an ordinance from its February meeting and voted against residential living spaces in first-floor commercial buildings.

“I changed my mind and called for a revote because I didn’t like what I saw when I walked through town and saw cigarette butts and dog feces on the sidewalk,” council President Larry Chenoga said.

He said there were people sitting out on the front porches, drinking alcoholic beverages, in the downtown area.

“I don’t think that is the image we want to leave of the people of Punxsy,” he said. “That was the main reason why I changed my vote from the February meeting.”

Chenoga said the more he thought about it, the more he believes that is no place for people to be living.

“If the resident of a storefront has kids, they would be walking out right onto the main street when they left

their apartment,” he said.

Solicitor Jay Lundy said at February’s meeting that council voted to approve an ordinance, which defined a commercial building.

Council member Robert Reesman made the motion to change the definition of a commercial building to not permit first-floor living space, which was seconded by Chenoga.

The motion passed 4-2, with Chenoga, Mike Porada, Michelle Lorenzo and Reesman voting yes. Eric Story and Bill Spencer voted no. Council member Toby Santik was absent.

Mayor James Wehrle said he had a problem with the borough telling people what they can do with their property and won’t sign the ordinance.

“I have a problem with telling people what they can do with their property,” he said. “As of right now, I’m not going to sign that ordinance, and if anyone wants to talk to me about it, I’d be glad to listen.”

Chenoga thanked Wehrle for his input.