Greene County commissioners recently said funding for 25 different local businesses has been approved through two separate initiatives geared to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Commissioner Mike Belding said Monday the businesses applied earlier this year for the Forgivable Advance for Small Business Assistance (FASBA) program or the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP).

“FASBA and CHIRP are programs for small businesses to recover some COVID-related financial impacts,” Belding said.

Commissioners also announced nine area businesses were awarded grant funding through CHIRP, with seven of the businesses receiving $50,000 and two receiving $5,000.

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The Southwestern Pennsylvania Corporation, a 501(c)(3) corporation, on behalf of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC), is requesting Technical Proposals and Price Proposals (together, the Proposal package) for the preparation of a Brodhead Road Corridor Planning Study in Beaver County. The selected firm or team of firms will assist SPC with completing a study with recommendations that will improve safety and mobility for all travel modes along the corridor.

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For more than 20 years with the Federal Transit Administration, Vincent Valdes worked with local communities across the country, overseeing their transportation projects from afar but only getting what he called “visceral satisfaction.”

Now, as the new executive director of the 10-county Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, Mr. Valdes said he looks forward to seizing the opportunity “to come here and bake the cake myself.”

“I wanted to be able to see the fruits of my work,” Mr. Valdes, 61, said in an interview Friday. “Why not actually come out and do it myself?”

Mr. Valdes was selected in April as the replacement for Jim Hassinger and began his new job on June 15. Mr. Hassinger retired after 19 years as executive director.

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Through a multiple-stop tour Friday, Butler County officials welcomed Vincent Valdes, the new executive director of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission.

According to a county news release Friday, Butler County officials, including the county commissioners, ushered Valdes and U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-16th, through stops including construction work improving the Route 228 corridor and the UPMC Sports Complex, the Pittsburgh Penguins practice site, in Cranberry Township.

“We’re in such an expansion mode,” said Kelly about the growth of the county.

Mark Gordon, Butler County chief of economic development and planning, said the tour was to welcome Valdes to the region and showcase the county’s economic development.

“We wanted to show the diversity of the county,” Gordon said.

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NEXTransit is a community-driven long-range plan for a transit-oriented Pittsburgh area that values equity, accessibility, economic and social mobility, safety, resiliency, and accountability.

Through this planning process, there is the opportunity and the responsibility to engage with communities in an equitable and meaningful way, lead the region on sustainability, and improve on the metrics transit riders value most.

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The 2019 Annual Report encompasses SPC’s accomplishments throughout the year and provides insight into our many programs, departments, and services. Download a copy of the full report and be sure to watch the 2019 Annual Report highlight video on our YouTube channel. Don’t forget to subscribe to our channel and click the ‘bell’ icon to stay notified when new content is published!

As the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Southwestern Pennsylvania, SPC, in collaboration with its member planning partners, will direct the use of billions in state and federal transportation funding through 2045. Adopted in June 2019, the long range plan – SmartMoves for a Changing Region – provides a robust policy framework that envisions a world-class, safe and well maintained, integrated transportation system that provides mobility for all, enables resilient communities and supports a globally competitive economy.

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Lawrence County Commissioner Steve Craig has briefcases, folders and other office items stacked inside of his office door, free to any taker who wants them.

Craig is cleaning out his office in anticipation of his last day of work Jan. 3, 2020, which is also his 66th birthday. Having served the county 31 years, first as a planner and planning director and later as an elected commissioner for 16 years, he opted to not seek re-election this year.

He’s ready to be done with it all, he said.

Craig, who typically sports a casual and relaxed professional look, began his career as a planner for a consulting firm, then as a project planner in the governor’s office in the Virgin Islands in Charles County, St. Croix. He also worked for a company that did re-use planning for old school buildings.

He joined the Lawrence County planning staff in 1981.

“Tony Mottle hired me,” he said. Mottle was the director of planning then, and when Mottle left to take a state government job in 1985, Craig advanced into his position.

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While living in Monaca, Dr. Vincent Troia frequently rode his bike to the Montour Trail in Coraopolis. He followed the Ohio River down Bicycle PA Route A, along Route 51, despite the high-speed traffic. Troia also said he would bike on the Little Beaver Creek Greenway trail, just across the state border in Ohio.

“I was thinking, ‘boy, it would be nice to just connect the two trails, and then we’d have a beautiful network, a bike network,’” said Troia, who now serves as president of the Ohio River Trail Council (ORTC). The nonprofit organization works to protect trails and to provide active transportation networks in the Ohio River Valley and surrounding areas.

Since its founding in 2009, the nonprofit ORTC has completed multiple bicycle feasibility studies to improve safety for cyclists. The studies encompassed an area along the Ohio River from Coraopolis to the Pennsylvania-Ohio border and examined possibilities for safer, off-road trails, according to Troia. Now, ORTC is developing a more comprehensive bicycle suitability study.

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