Blairsville celebrates end of Diamond Square intersection project, Blairsville Dispatch

December 3, 2011

"Officials gathered on Blairsville's West Market Street Friday evening to celebrate the completion of the Diamond Square intersection project at Liberty Street and advancements toward developing a river trail and riverfront village.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony in the southern Indiana County town marked completion of a $2.5 million streetscaping project that has dressed up Blairsville's downtown district with new brick sidewalks and pedestrian street lamps on Market Street. As part of the project, the Diamond Square gained patterned pavement to match the appearance of the brick walks, and it was expanded to allow traffic to flow in a complete circle around the landmark bandstand at the center of the intersection. Previously, motorists were prevented from making left turns.

The improvements were achieved with a grant the borough obtained through the federally funded Pennsylvania Community Transportation Initiative. It supplemented earlier state funding of nearly $1 million that paid for an initial phase of streetscaping along a two-block section of Market.

Linda Gwinn, a board member of the borough-created Blairsville Community Development Authority, credited the 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania, an agency that advocates for improvements in existing communities, with helping to develop the PCTI program and bringing the funding opportunity to the attention of Blairsville officials.

Grant Ervin of Pittsburgh, representing 10,000 Friends, said the aim of PCTI is to "use transportation resources to help with community investments."

He said the highly competitive grant program attracted more than 400 applications during its initial round, including Blairsville's streetscaping effort.

"We're proud to be a partner with Blairsville in developing this," Ervin said, indicating Blairsville's successful project could serve as a example for other potential applicants."  For the complete article, please click here.