The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications for the Farm Vitality Grant Program. This program provides reimbursement grants for a variety of business planning services. $1 million is available and all farmers and prospective farmers are eligible!

Learn more at agriculture.pa.gov

If you have any questions about the program please contact our Business Finance Assistance Manager, Ed Nemeth, by email at enemeth@spcregion.org.

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The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC) initiated this planning study to explore existing multimodal transportation needs, future trends, and potential improvement strategies along the State Route (SR) 885 and Second Avenue corridor in the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County. Specifically, the study corridor spans Second Avenue from the 10th Street Bridge in the Bluff neighborhood, south through South Oakland, Greenfield, and Hazelwood, to a southern terminus at its intersection with SR 837 in Hays. The overall study corridor spans approximately five miles and includes connections to Oakland via SR 885/Bates Street between Second Avenue and the Boulevard of the Allies.

View the full report (PDF 11.4MB)

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With the official 2020 Census count starting in just four months, new population estimates for Pittsburgh and Allegheny County indicate that the official count may show the region truly has turned a corner.

Figures from the Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey released Thursday show that for the first time in more than half a century, the city and county both could have relatively stable populations in the next official census in 2020.

The survey’s estimate – a weighted figure based on survey results over the five prior years – was that the city’s population in 2018 was 303,587, just slightly less than the 305,704 the city had in the official 2010 Census. And the county estimate for 2018 was 1,225,561, which would be slightly above the 1,223,066 in 2010.

Neither of the projected figures may sound dramatic. But after Allegheny County lost population in each of the past five official census going back to 1970 and the city lost people in each of the prior six going back to 1960, a stable count would be reason for a party.

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We’ve updated the SPC Data Library “Visualize: SPC Tableau” with the recently-released 2014-2018 American Community Survey data. Our interactive Tableau dashboard now includes 2009-2013 and 2014-2018 ACS data, which is the most current Census data available. The dashboard can display a variety of indicators and data comparisons by municipality, county, and region, based on user selections.

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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.

“Without Tony, I wouldn’t be here,” he said. “He was a really good mentor and he’s still a good friend. I learned the ropes from him.”

Craig was the planning director for 16 years, and he traveled to Russia for five weeks in 1995 as a consultant for the city of Rostov on Don.

Read the full story at ncnewsonline.com

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The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has started the phaseout of a downtown Indiana traffic signal.

District 10 officials in White Township said that the traffic signal at Philadelphia and 11th streets will begin operating on flash mode on Monday at 10 a.m.

A spokeswoman said the signal will flash yellow on Philadelphia Street and red on 11th Street, while stop signs will be placed on the 11th Street approaches.

A flashing yellow light means caution, while a flashing red light has the same meaning as a stop sign.

PennDOT said it will study and monitor the intersection during the flashing operation, in preparation for the removal of the traffic signal in the spring as part of the Philadelphia Street Bridge Replacement Project.

It is a planned $3.9 million replacement of two bridges or culverts, one of which carries Philadelphia Street over Whites Run. The other carries Philadelphia Street, where it is part of state Route 286, over Marsh Run.

Read the full story at indianagazette.com

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Before the newly elected Butler County commissioners took office in 2016, they met to agree upon priorities and goals — not only for their local municipalities, but also to elevate the strengths that the rural county brought to the region.

That initial meeting “set the tone” for years of collaboration, said Republican Commissioner Leslie Osche — who works alongside her fellow Commissioners Kevin Boozel, a Democrat, and Kim Geyer, a Republican — and also across county and party lines with Allegheny County’s Democratic executive, Rich Fitzgerald.

“Any one of us could pick up the phone and call Rich,” Mr. Boozel said.

That bipartisan behavior has earned the four elected officials the inaugural Moe Coleman Award, named after the late social worker, public servant and founder of the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute of Politics, who was known for bringing minds together.

Morton “Moe” Coleman died in January at age 86.

“Moe, in his leadership, created a safe space, if you will, where people could have frank discussions and come to agreement and find some common ground,” said Mr. Fitzgerald.

The four leaders will be given the award at a reception Monday in Pittsburgh.

Read the full story at post-gazette.com

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Planners have identified 123 road, bridge and transportation improvements needed in southwestern Pennsylvania, and said a list of priority projects — including a handful in Westmoreland County — will be adopted by next summer.

The Southwest Pennsylvania Commission, or SPC, and PennDOT on Wednesday afternoon outlined proposals that could be part of the next four-year transportation improvement plan for the 10-county region.

Among the projects considered are construction of a new ramps to the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Penn and Mt. Pleasant townships, continuation of the long-discussed Laurel Valley connector and major road improvements along Route 30.

Read the full story at Trib Live

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Plans were laid out Wednesday for a Hyperloop route between Pittsburgh and Chicago through Cleveland.

The route presented Wednesday is being proposed by Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, which has a test track in France and is working on a passenger system between Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

Most of the proposed route between Cleveland and Pittsburgh would be built 6 to 12 feet underground and mostly on public rights of way near highways.

It would rely on solar energy power and it could move up to 6 million passengers a year. There would be two stations in Pittsburgh — one downtown and the other at the airport. 

The plan is to get a passenger route up and running in India during the next decade, and a route in the United States will likely follow after that.

View the full story at  WPXI.com

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