The focal point of Ligonier Borough is inching closer to a makeover because council approved a concept design for renovations to the iconic Diamond area.
Engineer Greg Elliott from the EADS Group presented to council a packet of eight concept drawings reviewed by the project’s committee and a large poster of the design most liked by the panel Thursday night. Council approved the committee’s favorite unanimously and asked that Elliott move forward with researching the project’s potential cost.
“Now, this is a concept plan,” Elliott said. “This is not the final design.”
The design calls for a 10-inch-high curb around the inner Diamond where the gazebo sits to help deter truck traffic from going up over the curb and causing damage, an issue that catalyzed discussion about renovating the Diamond.
The inner Diamond’s shape would be more rectangular than square, and its walkway widened.
“We’re not replacing or doing anything significant to the gazebo except there is a wood structure, extension of the stage, that we are going to reconstruct with masonry stone to match the existing gazebo,” Elliott said.
The committee, consisting of borough officials and Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Anna Weltz, considered what could be done that is “different and interesting” to improve the island area, Elliott said.
“We looked at how do people sit in groups and communicate,” he said. “The way it is now these walkways on both sides have benches that are linear in fashion, which is not really conducive to social interaction.”
The committee chose the option of replacing some benches with eight half-circle, or radius, benches.
“The radius creates a more conducive space for people to congregate and communicate,” Elliott said. The plan is to elongate the walkway by 7 feet on each side.
Councilman Jim McDonnell said the concept design looks like it would give “a lot more continuity” to the Diamond as a whole.
With approval of the concept design, secretary-treasurer Paul Fry said it can now be fine-tuned and “we’re going to try to come up with our wish list of things we want to implement into this process, and then get a cost analysis of it and see what it’s going to cost and then what can be afforded.”
“We can’t go into this with a champagne appetite and a beer pocketbook,” McDonnell said. “Keep that in mind as well.”
“If we find that we have a champagne appetite, then we’ll establish priorities and decide what to cut,” Elliott said.
Council is aiming to complete the design by the end of the year to bid out the project in March.
In other business, council approved posting a survey online at ligonierborough.com and providing copies of it at the borough office for residents to offer input on the community and local issues. McDonnell created the survey to assist with the joint comprehensive plan the borough is discussing with Ligonier Township. Questions range from quality of life and borough services to parks and local law enforcement.
Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2862 or [email protected].