Latrobe revitalization program shifts focus to facade, beautification projects
Executive Director Jarod Trunzo detailed several projects the Latrobe Community Revitalization Program hopes to advance in the coming year at last week’s Latrobe City Council meeting.
Trunzo wanted to give council a “snapshot” of what the group is working on as it changes its focus on development instead of events.
The revitalization program will continue to operate the Latrobe Farmers Market, but has turned over Steelers Fest and the Great American Banana Split Festival to the Greater Latrobe-Laurel Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Some projects will start in March when the weather breaks, then continue through the summer, Trunzo said.
The first phase of a facade grant project at the former Danceland building at Jefferson and Depot streets will be one of the earliest to get under way, Trunzo said.
The group has a facade program that provides grants matched up to $5,000 for downtown business owners to improve the exteriors of their buildings.
“That’s a historically significant building,” he said.
Also planned to begin in March will be a project to beautify the outside of the Latrobe post office, near the former Danceland.
A woman donated a bench in memory of her daughter, and the group has raised a total of $8,500 and obtained a $2,000 grant for improvements.
The bench will face James H. Rogers Park at Main and Jefferson, Trunzo said, and will complement the historical marker for Fred Rogers planned for installation in the spring of 2016.
New streets signs, which will be available for sponsorship, will begin to be installed in March featuring a trolley, another element recalling “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” the public television series hosted by one of Latrobe’s most famous residents.
Between April and May, the revitalization program plans to continue improvements to the last section of Lloyd Avenue, Trunzo said.
“Lloyd Avenue has come a long way. It certainly still has a long way to go, but you certainly see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.
The improvements this year will take place from Dunkin’ Donuts at 300 Lloyd Ave. to Country Farms Garden Center and Landscaping at 500 Lloyd Ave., Trunzo said.
Those will be part of $4.65 million invested along the street since 2001, including removal of utility poles, demolition of blighted homes and the addition of pedestrian lighting, street trees and pervious concrete, he said.
About $6,500 has been raised for the phase, including $5,000 contributed by the Latrobe Industrial Development Authority.
Also in May, Trunzo said, more elements are planned to beautify the vacant lot at the former site of Ligonier Street Grub and Pub, which was destroyed by fire.
The phase includes informational signs touting the history of Latrobe and improved lighting for pedestrians, he said.
“We can put those exterior lights to capture that; and as you’re walking past, you can read about the past,” Trunzo said.
New lighting nearby will be a prominent part of improvements to the parking lot across Jefferson Street from the municipal building.
“That one light in the middle is fitting for a car dealership or the mall — the style,” he said, adding that the more aesthetically pleasing posts will be complemented by concrete planters.
Finally, while construction is far ahead, Trunzo was encouraged by reorganization in January of a committee to construct a trail between St. Vincent College in Unity and the city.
“We’ve gotten a lot done in the past five months,” he said. “We’ve gotten more done in the last five months than we have in the last couple years.”
Trunzo is ready to see all the projects come to fruition after fundraising and planning behind the scenes.
“We’re gearing up for a big year of implementation. … It’s exciting,” he said.
Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 or [email protected].