By Josh Freeman
TARENTUM, Pa. – The community of Tarentum has been in the new stages of revitalizing its town since 1999 with the help of its borough workers, countywide programs, and state grants.
Bill Rossi, the Borough Manager of Tarentum since 2001 has been involved in this revitalization project since he was assigned the position. Tarentum has made many strides within the most recent years, starting with the renovations in architecture for the Mill Street Housing Project. The community has also made strides with the additions of the new skate park for the youth and the vast Daltons Edge assisted living complex for older citizens. Downtown Tarentum is also in the process of being upgraded with rundown buildings being demolished for new business opportunities as well as the addition of new sidewalks, street signs and lamps.
“There’s a lot going on here,” said Rossi who noted many key assets that Tarentum possesses. “You have some quality buildings such as Gatto’s Harley Davidson, JG’s Tarentum Station Grille, and La Russe Distributing,” Stated Rossi. These buildings have all been around for years and are known to embark the face of Tarentum. These buildings are also within walking distance of Main Street and the river front. The Tarentum Station received a $57,000 grant last April from the Allegheny County’s All Together Mainstreets Program. This grant is in the process of being used to make the building more appealing with a renovated parking lot and sidewalks. The All Together Mainstreets Program was formed to help small town communities in economic distresses.
Many old abandoned buildings along West 7th Avenue in the 3rd Ward have been torn down through the help of state grants and contractors in determination to create a new community center for the youth and their families. The desolate river front property along 1st Avenue will be constructed into an elegant apartment complex for both existing and new residents as well. “The idea of having a new apartment complex along with our other existing living facilities would be great stabilization for our community,” said Rossi.
The joint efforts for combining Highland Hose and Summit Hose Fire Companies in Tarentum are underway. The Borough headquarters and Police building will also be integrated in the mix of the fire companies. This will be done in hopes that all are combined closely together to help serve the community more efficiently and effectively. This idea has intentions to entail better organization and savings of time, space, and money.
Tarentum faces many constraints in trying to improve its community but has been chipping away at it year by year with the budget and workforce that they have. “This is a slow and steady process,” Rossi stated. Many people in the existing area realize that it is hard enough to take care of a town the way it is, let alone make it better.