Bellevue gets $315,000 roads grant

Bellevue was informed Thursday that the borough has been awarded a $315,000 state grant that completely covers the cost of the repairs made to the West Riverview Avenue retaining wall. Photo by Connie Rankin for The Citizen

Bellevue received a late Christmas present when it was announced Thursday that the borough had been awarded a state transportation grant of $315,000 that will completely pay for the West Riverview retaining wall project.

State Rep. Adam Ravenstahl, who had worked with borough officials to secure the grant, informed Bellevue shortly after the announcement was made by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).

The costly project was delayed for several years while the borough applied for -- and was denied -- various grants. Just last year, Bellevue moved ahead with the repairs necessary to re-open the road that had been undermined by the retaining wall collapse. West Riverview Avenue was opened to traffic just weeks ago.

The receipt of the grant funds may impact the decision officials need to make about funding the repair of Sumner and Straw avenues, badly damaged in a water main break on Sumner a year ago.
Bellevue Council must decide whether to finance the repair of Straw and Sumner avenues with existing capital improvement funds or use the proceeds of a low interest AIM loan.

Director of Administrative Services Ron Borczyk told council members at their regular meeting in January that the borough has been approved for a five-year loan of $152,000 at 1.34 percent interest to repair the streets that were undermined by a water main break. Both are brick streets, but Borczyk said that the engineering plan calls for removal of the brick in the affected areas, rebuilding the street base, and paving the affected areas with asphalt.

With the borough’s public works crew able to do some of the work, Borczyk said, the estimated cost of the repairs is likely to be less than $152,000.

Although several coouncil members were cautious about the idea of taking on more debt, Borczyk reminded them that the borough already is facing major projects on both West and East Riverview that are likely to exceed the capital improvements funds put away by the borough. He also noted that the 1.34 percent interest rate is the equivalent of an administrative fee, and will allow the borrow to pay off the loan over five years at a cost of about $30,000 per year.

Council members Tom Fodi and Jodi Hause were absent.