By Tara Bailey
The Crafton Planning Commission kicked off the first in a series of community planning workshops Aug. 26 via Zoom.
Open to the public, the workshop was initiated with the intention of sharing ideas amongst community members on how best to prioritize projects within the borough. The agenda included a recap of recent and current initiatives, as well as, how the opportunities and changes might affect the community.
“We worked out all the details and ready to walk the community through the great things we are working on,” said Eric Valcheff, planning commissioner.
“We want to involve the community in the next steps for the borough. This is an opportunity to invite the community to create more opportunities to invite your voices, ideas, and thoughts into what the vision of our town should be.”
Lydia Herring, chairwoman of the planning commission, opened the meeting with background information on the origin of the town’s vision and comprehensive planning and documentation. The implementation process started in the fall of 2015 and the borough adopted the plan on April 24, 2017. The final product will address the unique needs of both communities.
Details of the goals, ideas and strategies the borough will use to pursue the ideals of the comprehensive plan and the recommendations of the planning commission were shared in a “vision document.”
“[It] is really a way for us to build on the comprehensive plan,” said Herring. “It does not give specific recommendations on areas or subjects.”
Crafton and Ingram Borough jointly developed an implementable comprehensive plan in the fall of 2015 called “C-I-Thrive,” an initiative to work together to create a small-town for a new generation while propelling the communities forward.
The plan entails four key priorities and goals set for each of those:
1) Property maintenance and code enforcement will create an enforcement action team to lead an overall process for addressing existing and emerging property maintenance problems and preventing new ones.
2) Community development in Crafton and Ingram will present business owners and investors, workers and residents with viable, diverse, convenient and attractive commercial environments.
3) Connectivity and walkability will attract and keep residents and businesses by maintaining and improving the boroughs’ status as highly walkable communities.
4) Communications will engage the public through timely, accurate and effective two-way communications. Such as adding useful and functional information to the borough’s website.
The comprehensive plan explains which goals the commission will complete immediately and designate which projects will be long-term goals.
Besides these current initiatives, Valcheff elaborated on how Crafton’s budget has grown more than 10% over the past few years.
The town has secured close to $10 million in grants, most of which came from Alcosan. The commission designated the grant money to be used toward separating stormwater to clean Chartiers Creek and replace deteriorating sewer pipes.
Commission member Rich Kraemer also spoke on the zoning update. Zoning has not been updated since 2004 and will not be joint.
Both towns will each have their own zoning, prepared by one firm. In 2019, a request for proposals was issued on behalf of Crafton only. The decision to award the project was postponed.
During 2020, Crafton collaborated with Ingram to pursue joint funding through a $50,000 DCED grant. The status of the grant on behalf of Crafton and Ingram will be submitted in September 2020. If awarded, the grant will cover up to 50% of the expected $100,000 cost; with Crafton and Ingram each providing an additional $25,000.
Crafton’s planning commission will next meet on Sept. 22 via Zoom at 7 p.m.