Your Community News Source

June 1, 2002

Statewide Building Code Update
Pennsylvania lawmakers have passed legislation to have a statewide building code in effect by mid-2003. This will affect all construction including private housing. Each municipality has about a year to make a decision on what’s best for their citizens.

The law will require everyone building a structure of more than 500 square feet to have certified inspectors who will give their approval during the most important steps of the process. The new statewide building code will require inspections on foundations, the overall construction phase, electrical and heating, plumbing and a final inspection.

While building inspections are common in many larger cities and townships within Pennsylvania, it will be a new process for many smaller communities and townships. Statewide Building Codes currently exist in 45 states.

The new law will be advertised in the Pennsylvania Bulletin in the spring of 2003 and each municipality will have 90 days thereafter to comply. Each municipality will have to provide inspectors either from the municipality itself or from a league or association of multiple communities. The cost of the inspections will be passed onto the homeowner or developer of a building.

A municipality can opt out but the law remains in effect and homeowners would to comply with the law and have to rely on having the state provide the inspections. Such a move would stifle development because of the difficulty in getting state inspectors to a site on at least five separate occasions. If opting out, the municipality would have no control over the cost of the inspections and residents would have to pay whatever cost would be passed on from the state inspectors.

Jackson Township already participates in the Cambria County Sewage Enforcement Agency which enforces on-lot sewage regulations. More than a dozen townships participate in the agency which is a cost effective and efficient way to for small to medium-sized townships to meet state regulations. A similar joint effort may be the most efficient way to provide the participating townships with qualified local building inspectors that will provide whatever inspections are necessary in order to meet the statewide building code.

The Jackson Township website has a new home. You can find the website at the following address: www.jacksontwppa.com At the website you will find a wealth of information that is pertinent to the residents of Jackson such as meeting dates, phone numbers, water and sewer authority information, ordiances, recycling, garbage pick-up, link resources and much more. We hope to be adding additional information in the future and hope that you will ‘bookmark’ this website in your favorite places to keep up-to-date on your township. You can also contact the Jackson Township office at the following email address: office@jacksontwppa.com

CDBG Grants Helping Jackson Township
Community Development Block Grants are having a positive impact on Jackson Township. Larry Custer, Executive Director of the Cambria County Redevelopment Authority along with the Jackson Township Supervisors have worked together to bring many worthy projects.

One current project is to extend water lines to the Wagner & Pintail Road area of the township which would serve 22 residences. The current application for this grant is being reviewed by the Pennsylvania Commission of Economic Development. This would be the first phase of a multi-year project that would cost approximately ½ million dollars to complete. Once the project application is approved, additional monies can be applied for through the grant program according to Mr. Custer..

Mr. Custer stated, "This was a priority project for the Board of Supervisors." Different alternatives were studied including extending lines from either the Jackson Twp. Water Authority System or the High Ridge Water Authority System in Indiana County. Engineering studies have been completed and the Township Supervisors have allocated physical year 2002 CDBG grant monies towards this much needed project. The initial monies will be used towards engineering the initial design and layout of the project.

Other current projects include installing new horseshoe courts at the Jackson Twp. Senior Center as well as adding a new west handicapped-accessible entrance to the center. The new entrance is being designed by Kring Architects. Another current project is extending water lines to 8 families on Solar Street near Route 22. Still yet another project which is still in the works is a walking trail on the grounds of the Jackson Twp. Senior Center.

From 1984 through 1987 CDBG Programs were used to construct storm drainage culverts, piping and inlets, on various streets within Vinco. An amendment to the 1986 program (coupled with a $50,000 RIRA grant and two $10,000 Legislative Initiatives Grants) developed a tennis court, basketball court, softball field, bleachers and amenities at the Mitchell Memorial Park in Vinco.

In 1988 and 1989, CDBG grants were utilized to construct a wastewater collection line to 14 residents in the village of Lorraine. The 1990, 1993 through 2000 CDBG Grants developed an activities center for senior citizens and for handicapped persons in a vacant school building in Vinco. An extension of a wastewater collection line to 11 residents along White Street has been completed from using grant monies from the 1991 Program. The 1992 CDBG Program constructed a waterline extension to six residents in Mundys Corner.

Housing owned and occupied by Low to Middle Income persons with special needs is being rehabilitated throughout the Township with monies from the 1998, 1999 and 2000 CDBG Programs. Larry Custer said that the CDBG Grant Program has already helped to rehabilitate about 9 homes in Jackson Township for the handicapped and disabled with special needs who are are low to middle income. There are currently additional grant monies available for this program. If you are handicapped or disabled and are interested in this program, you are welcome to call the Jackson Township office at 749-0725 or contact Larry Custer at the Cambria County Redevelopment Authority at 472-6711.

Jackson Twp. to Host Firemen’s Convention
The Jackson Township Volunteer Fire Company will be hosting the Cambria County Volunteer Firemen’s Convention this year. The convention will run from July 27th through August 3rd, 2002. It will be a fun time for all with games for kids and adults alike. This event is the first time Jackson Township has hosted the Cambria County Convention and the firemen are very proud to have been chosen.

The planning for this event has taken a lot of time and effort form all of those involved. If any township resident would be interested in assisting with the convention, please feel free to contact George R. Straub at 322-3761.

Jackson Power Plant Moving Forward
Connectiv Energy is moving foward on a proposed 600 million gas fired power plant according to Nancy Sullivan, Technical Manager for Connectiv. Connectiv currently has an option agreement to purchase land off of Dishong Road pending approval of all necessary permits from the State and Federal Government. The proposed plant would be a state-of-the-art facility and one of the most efficient and clean in the region. Connectiv would have to meet all PADEP standards.

Ron Budash, Director of the Cambria County Redevelopment Authority said the construction project would create 500 to 600 jobs at family sustaining wages over a period of two years. Once construction would be completed, Connectiv anticipated about 50 full time employees would staff the facility. One additional benefit besides creating jobs for local residents would be adding a steady stream of revenue to the tax base of Jackson Township helping to hold down taxes.

Jackson Road Projects & Route 22 Update
There will be lots of activity on upgrading local roads this year and for several years to come. One major project scheduled to begin this year will be the repaving of Route 271 from Park Hill to US Route 22. The project will include newly paved shoulders along with upgraded pavement markings as well as new reflective markings. The project should begin around early August of this year according to John Ambrosini of PennDot.

Local paving projects will include Pennway Drive, Snyder Road, 1180 feet of Pike Road on the west side of Route 271, a portion of Griffith Avenue below Rosebranch Street and the back portion of Woodland and Kagey Streets according to Dave Bracken, Township Roadmaster.

In addition "tar and chip" treatment will be done on Loraine Road from the Township line to Ford’s Corner Road, Ford’s Corner Road from Cardnal Road to Route 271, Venture Street, Kline Avenue from Venture Street to Bald Eagle Street and Shepard Street as well as the parking lot at the Mitchell Memorial Park in Vinco.

Route 22 re-construction will begin sometime in 2003 pending acuqistion of right-of-way agreements according to Tom Prestash, Highway Planning Development Engineer for PennDot. The "new 22" will be what is called "Controlled Access". Unlike limited access highways where motorists can only enter and exit at interchanges, the new Route 22 will have controlled access through service roads in certain areas.

Dave Sherman, Project Manager for PennDOT in Hollidaysburg said Route 22 will be expanded to 4 lanes of paved highway from Mundys Corner to Route 403 in Indiana County. The east and west-bound lanes will be seperated by a concrete medial barrier. Also the new road will have 8 foot wide paved shoulders on each side. The Chickoree Mountain section from the Indiana County Line to the top of the mountain will have 5 lanes with one lane being a climbing lane for slow moving traffic. For the most part, the road will follow the same path that currently exists but it will be greatly expanded and improved.

Mr. Sherman said that there will be a new access interchange built at Dishong Road which will consist of a new bridge that carries traffric over Route 22 onto Dishong. Also lighting will be added at the Route 271 and Dishong Road interchanges.

Construction on Route 22 from the bottom of Chickoree Mountain to Route 403 (Indiana County) will take place beginning this year (2002). Once the construction of the Jackson Township portion begins sometime in 2003, Mr. Sherman estimated it would take 2 to 3 years to complete. This is all part of PennDot’s long range plan to have a 4 lane highway from Altoona to Pittsburgh.

Jackson Senior Center Continues to Grow
Since the Jackson Township Senior Center opened on May 10, 1998, the membership has grown to over 300 strong. Frank Singel, President said the center has much to offer. The Center serves three lunches weekly. On Tuesday and Thursday, the Cambria County Agency on Aging provides meals but on Wednesday a "home cooked" meal is provided.

The Center is alive with activities including dinner dances, parties, bingo, line dancing, pinochle parties, and sing alongs. There have been many bus trips since the Center opened and many more are being planned. There are also special speakers scheduled from time to time.

Various classes on health-related issues relating to Seniors are held as well as providing services such as blood pressure screenings. Americorp has provided an Activities Director to help organize and plan the various events.

One growing area of interest are the beginners computer classes held at the Center. The Center is now organizing it’s 5th computer class and 28 people have already expressed interest.

The Center has some of the best facilities in the County for Seniors. Among the facilites at the Center are a Library / Lounge that includes a 60 inch television where weekly movies are shown. Also a special room is dedicated to ceramics and yet another is filled with elaborate model train displays which was one of the Center’s first projects and is still up and running..

One current project under construction are new professional horseshoe pits. A walking trail is proposed around the Senior Center Grounds as a future project. Both projects are possible due to Community Development Block Grants.

Mr. Singel welcomes anyone to stop in for a tour of the Center. If you are interested in becoming a member, the cost is $10.00 per year and you must be 50 years of age or older. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer at the Jackson Twp. Senior Center, please contact Frank Singel at 322-3327.

Recreation Projects Slated for Jackson
The Jackson Township Recreation Commission is active in developing recreation and parks within the Township. According to Al Slippy of the Recreation Commission, projects planned for the Mitchell Memorial Park include "tar and chipping" the complete parking area, providing a new playground area with new playground equipment, building permanent restroom facilities and adding a second picnic pavilion.

Many projects have already been completed at Mitchell Park including a new ten foot high chain-link fence around the basketball courts, a paved parking area and "walk-way" for the handicapped, three new picnic tables, two new scorekeeper stands at the ball fields and a new park entrance sign.

The Recreation Commission is also pursuing the expansion of Leidy Lane Park. Already completed are a new park entrance sign, two volleyball courts and four new picnic tables. A waterline has been extended to the ball field area and trees have been cleared for the new field to be built this Fall with State grant monies made available through the efforts of Rep. Tom Yewcik.

Projects planned for Leidy Lane Park are adding new playground equipment, preparing area for a second ball field, adding permanent restroom facilities, constructing a second picnic pavillion, parking area improvements, fencing around the Leidy Park area and adding a walking track.

Most all of the projects have been funded from a combination of various grants obtained by the Recreation Commission. Mr. Slippy invites anyone in Jackson who is interested in recreation to attend their monthly meetings which are held on the third Tuesday of each month at 8:00 pm at the Jackson Twp. Municipal Building.

Sewer Authority Update
The Jackson / East Taylor Sewer Authority would like to "Welcome" their new Board Member, Mr. Ken Yarina, to the Authority and also "Thank" Mr. Hiram Ribblett for his seven years of service to the Townships of Jackson and East Taylor. Mr. Ribblett was an asset to the Authority and will be greatly missed.

The Sewer Authority has completed a feasibility study to expand the sewer lines to the Cherrywood, Mitchell Field, and Brazil Lane sections of Jackson Township. The Authority is in the process of having their new Engineer, Mr. Daniel Carbaugh of Keller Engineers Inc., amend the "Act 537 Plan" to include these new areas. The next step will be for the Sewer Authority to borrow additional financing from Pennvest. They are hoping to start construction sometime in 2003.

Chief Fatula Honored by Drug Task Force
Jackson Township Chief of Police, Bob Fatula was recently honored by the Cambria County Drug Task Force for contributing to the largest single seizure of crack cocaine, powder cocaine, marijuana, heroin, LSD and methamphetamine in the Drug Task Force’s history.

Bob has participated in over 800 investigations between 1990 and 2002. Chief Fatula was also recognized as being the number one contributor to the most drugs, vehicles and US currency seized by the Drug Task Force out of 154 DTF members.

Recycling News
The Recycling Bins located near the Township Municipal Building in Mundys Corner are being retro-fitted with lids similar to those located at the Senior Center in Vinco. Dolan Welding & Fabricating is doing the work and the holes in the lids will allow for those items that are recyclable.

The reason for the new lids is that with the old "door type" lids, items that were not recyclable such as household garbage, appliances and construction materials were being thrown in the bins. According to Waste Management, the recycling center will reject loads that are contaminated. The situation kept getting worse so something had to be done.

Rather than having the bins removed, the Township Supervisors opted to have the bins retro-fitted with new lids so that residents can continue to use the bins at Mundys Corner for recycling. Recycling can reduce the amount of garbage a household has and result in savings from needing less garbage bags.

Water Authority Update
As many of you are aware, the Water Authority has been busy installing new tanks and lines for the past 2 years. The two new tanks installed were at M ile Hill Road and Rosebranch Street Extension. New waterlines were installed on Swigle Mountain Road, Mile Hill Road, Route 271 and Griffith Avenue. They are happy to say that this project is now complete and working.

All tanks and pump stations are now connected to one computer system helping the Authority better control and regulate the water levels and time spent pumping. The computer system does functions that previously had to be done manually.

The water authority’s goal for the near future is to install as many new meters as possible before Winter. Eventually all new meters will be in place. The new meters will be "scanner type" meters which will replace the current manual "read out" ones. The scanner type meters are more accurate on providing data on actual usage of water.

Planning a Building Project?
If you are planning on building a new building or adding on to an existing building, be sure to stop at the Township Office to apply for a building permit. No permits are necessary for remodeling an existing structure such as installing new roofing, siding, windows, etc. Also if you are planning to pave or alter your driveway, a driveway permit is required.

Spring Clean Up
Thanks to the residents of Jackson Township for your cooperation and patience during our recent Spring Clean Up. According to Waste Management, the amount of extra household refuse during clean up week was overwhelming. The Township in cooperation with Waste Management provides the yearly Spring Clean Up at no cost to the residents of Jackson Township.