BY CHADWICK DOLGOS
The Crafton planning commission is ready to move forward with a rezoning plan outlined in the Crafton-Ingram Thrive Comprehensive Plan adopted in 2017.
The plan designed to “enhance the boroughs’ small-town feel while propelling the communities forward” may be moving forward in Crafton with or without competitive state grant funding.
In January, Lydia Herring, chairwoman of the Crafton planning commission, asked council for permission to move forward with the project regardless of the status of the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) grant.
However, if they are not awarded the grant money, the costs of the project would be split between Ingram and Crafton totaling $50,000 each.
The DCED grant will not be awarded until sometime later this year.
“I do think it is important for Crafton to lead this,” said Councilman Brad Crouse. “I think that for Crafton to develop itself into a forward-thinking community that will bring millennials and Gen-Zers here to stay for 20 to 30 years, we’re going to have to create zoning which entices those community aspects that people remember from time gone by.”
President Phillip Levasseur argued that council should wait to see if they are awarded the grant.
“I don’t really know if it’s really necessary to start this project during this pandemic or not,” he said.
“We’re about to embark on major construction projects that this borough hasn’t seen in 50-60 years. Rezoning requires a lot of community engagement, cooperation, and administrative resources.”
Council’s Anthony Saba agreed with Levasseur that the project could wait because the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has put a strain on local economics and created uncertainty around funding and grant awards.
“I would rather wait, because it’s urgent, but not so urgent that it needs to be done now,” said Saba.
Officials in Ingram have not made a decision as to which direction to take if grant funding is not forthcoming.
“We’re hoping we get the funding,” said Sam Nucci, Ingram council president.
“We’ll have to cross that bridge when we get to it; we may move forward [without the funding], we may not.”
While some members of council would prefer to wait and see what the grant process will bring, the planning commission has moved forward and selected environmental.