By Jamie Wiggan
During public meetings held July 1 and July 8, Coraopolis officials allocated funds for police body cameras, passed an ordinance prohibiting motorized vehicles on public parks and established a wellhead protection area around the Susie Letteri Riverfront Park.
Borough Manager Ray McCutcheon, who also manages the Coraopolis Water and Sewage Authority (CWSA), said the newly designated protection area contains eight active drinking wells, which will now be protected from accidental spills and discharges.
McCutcheon said the amendment falls within broader efforts to develop the riverfront park unveiled in a masterplan earlier this year.
In addition to increased parking and other infrastructure improvements, the plan calls for the installation of a new childrens’ playground, docking facilities, a gazebo and a concert shell with lawn seating.
The project will be partially funded by a $200,000 grant awarded by Pennsylvania’s department of conservation and natural resources in November 2018.
In November 2019, the CWSA made local news headlines after water samples taken by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) flagged comparatively high levels of per-and polyfluorinated substance (PFAS) contaminants.
Although CWSA water was among the highest of the 96 water supplies randomly sampled across the sate, it still fell well within current federal guidelines for safe drinking water.
The extent to which PFAS presents a human health threat is still undetermined, with research into the topic ongoing.
The ordinance was approved July 8, in a business meeting held immediately after a hearing on the ordinance.
Another ordinance prohibiting motorized vehicles from accessing public trails was also heard and approved July 8. Council discussed the issue during its May 13 business meeting, where President Robb Cardimen said motorized vehicles had been damaging trail surfaces.
Responding to recent pushes for national police reform, Chief Ronald Denbow said he anticipates a time when police body cameras would become necessary and suggested the Coraopolis department allocate the funds to acquire the equipment.
Council responded with a unanimous vote approving the purchase of up to ten body cameras at a maximum cost of $25,000.
Denbow said he has obtained a quote for six cameras, including “docking stations, software stations, downloading stations and the server,” at a cost of $17,898.00.
Council also approved the resignation of part-time officer Jordan Ross and the hiring of full-time officer Scott Tapler.