Road work set to begin today

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Now that the festival season has concluded in Punxsutawney for another year, it’s time for borough residents and motorists to prepare for the return of construction season.

Police Chief Tom Fedigan said at Monday’s Punxsutawney Borough Council meeting that motorists should prepare themselves for significant delays beginning today.

Contractor Power Contracting will shut down the intersection of Jefferson Street and Mahoning Street today, Fedigan said, and there will be delays in the downtown area, along with parking restrictions and tagged meters.

Fedigan said parking restrictions will allow the contractor more room to detour traffic from around the construction area.

Work to be performed includes installation of accessible pedestrian push
buttons; pavement marking removal; parking meter removal; removal of light poles; removal and replacement of existing overhead signs; removal of post-mounted signs; installation of drainage; replacement of reflective sheeting as needed; replacement sign installation; replacement lightpole installation; new traffic signal installation; paving; line painting; and related miscellaneous construction.

The total cost of the traffic signal project is $1,112,458.

Roger Steele, council member and chairman of the Groundhog Festival Committee, said the festival was a big success once again this year.

Steele said there were 46 general merchandise vendors and 19 food vendors in the park, and he presented council with a check for $1,592 in vendor fees that were collected.

Steele said the festival reached a milestone, as it had expenditures of $95,000, which pays for security, water, electric and entertainment.
Over an 11-year period, the committee has spent $1 million on the festival.

“That’s a compliment to the community, for allowing us to celebrate our freedoms, and giving us the money to support the festival over the years, “ Steele said.

“It’s amazing that the support for our festival continues to grow, especially when other festivals are pulling back from seven days to four days, and limiting their activities,” he said.

Steele said the Groundhog Festival has never received any taxpayer money until this year, when it was the recipient of a $5,000 grant from the Jefferson County Hotel Tax Committee to use toward advertising.

The festival attendance was up an estimated 25 to 30 percent, Steele said.

Council President Susan Glessner thanked the Punxsutawney Fire Department Old Home Week Committee and the Groundhog Festival committee for two great weeks.

“Anyone who says there’s nothing to do in a small town hasn’t been to Punxsutawney,” she said.