Cranberry supervisors discuss library idea
The Derrick,
1/25/02 By JUDITH O. ETZEL


A special thanks goes out to The Derrick for allowing this story to be posted


Cranberry Township supervisors are tinkering with the idea of building a public library to serve township residents.

The idea first came up in June when a private foundation group approached township secretary-treasurer Frank Pankratz about conducting a study on library usage and accessibility. That study was undertaken and the township is awaiting results.

Possible funding for such a project prompted the library issue to come up again at Thursday's supervisors meeting. At issue was how the Community Development Block Grants money, available annually to townships with a large population of moderate and low-income families, would be allocated next year. Cranberry has 51.6 percent of its residents in those income categories and qualifies for the CDBG money.

In the past, the funds have been used for a variety of projects ranging from the new Seneca Volunteer Fire Department station to recreational equipment at Morrison Park and road improvements.

Terry Ray of Graney Grossman Ray Colosimo and Associates Inc., a Grove City consulting firm hired by the township to handle the CDBG applications, said Cranberry Township could expect about $150,000 in grant money next year. That prompted Pankratz to suggest the funds might be used to help pay for a local library.

"We're waiting word from the regional library study and, if they pick Cranberry as a spot for one, we could use a large portion of the CDBG money," Pankratz said. The library group will provide 90 percent of the money with the township picking up 10 percent, he said.

"If they come up with the money, we'll tap our CDBG money," Pankratz said.

Ray, noting he was speaking "as a local resident," applauded the concept of offering a public library within the township.

"I'd be delighted to see a library come here. It would be neat, with the rest of the development going on here. I think a library is long overdue," Ray said.

Fred Buckholtz, a supervisor, said the establishment of a local library "would be a top priority."

The township annually allocates money to three local libraries. Last year, the township earmarked $5,000 each for the Cranberry High School Library, the Oil City Library and the Franklin Library.

A public hearing to discuss what projects should be funded by the CDBG state grants will be held at the Feb. 28 supervisors meeting, which will start at 7 p.m.

In other matters, the supervisors approved hikes in several zoning-related permit fees. Pankratz said the fees have not been changed since January 1990 and, in comparing them to neighboring municipal fees, they are much lower. Higher advertising and preparation costs for zoning notices have prompted the need to raise the township fees, he said.

Building permits - $15 for any work up to $10,000 and $15 plus 50 cents for every $1,000 from $10,000 and up - will remain the same. The hiked fees include those required for conditional use appeal ($150 to $500), special exception appeals ($125 to $350), map or ordinance interpretation and appeal ($75 to $150), variance appeals ($150 to $500), zoning changes ($150 to $500) and home occupation office fees ($90 to $150).

The new fee schedule was unanimously approved by the supervisors.

Pankratz said four building permits, accounting for an estimated $18,400 in construction work, have been issued to date this month.