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Altoona officials working to improve sidewalks in historic district

By: Lauren Hensley

ALTOONA, Pa. -- After a PennDOT contractor incorrectly trimmed dozes of trees in Altoona to the point they had to be chopped down, neighbors in one community were upset. A new plan is in the works hoping to replace the streets and upgrade the sidewalks.

It has been eight months since Board Avenue in Altoona was supposed to be resurfaced, but after a contractor get a little carried away with trimming the trees, plans for the improvements were put on hold.

Wednesday, the city of Altoona announced PennDOT will pay to replace the dozens of trees and the city is working to secure grants to pay for additional improvements between 24th Street and 31st Street.

"It is a big neighborhood, it is the gateway to the city, there's a lot of traffic there, a lot of people live there," Dave Diedrich, public works director said. "So we are just trying to make a bad situation better and I think we can, working together."

The project will cost $1.2 million and will include upgrades to the sidewalks and curbs. The city is planning to pay for the project through a Keystone Grant. The city will match the grant money dollar for dollar. The first step in moving forward with the project is getting the public's opinion. About a dozen came out to share their thoughts on the city's project.

"We have some ideas, but they live there, so it is a good thing they came out." Diedrich said.

The next step will be for the city to apply for the grant. Diedrich said if everything goes according to schedule the community can expect the project to begin in 2015.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times