Zelienople provides bridge loan, donation for skate park

November 6, 2019 Cranberry Local News

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Crews work on the Zelienople Memorial Skate Park on Tuesday.

ZELIENOPLE — A potential funding shortfall for the Zelienople Memorial Skate Park was solved Oct. 28, as borough council agreed to provide a bridge loan and make a donation to the project.

The agreement was unanimously approved by council a few weeks after skate park officials said they did not have all the funds available to pay for the project, which is on track to be completed soon.

During that early October meeting, skate park representatives said the lack of funding could be as much as $69,000, although that figure included contingency funds.

Officials estimated between $30,000 and $35,000 could be made up during next year's Lenten fish fries, a continuation of an annual fundraiser that has raised significant amounts of money for the project over the years.

In the interim, they asked council to consider providing the funds as a loan until the money could be raised next spring.

Crews work on the Zelienople Memorial Skate Park.

Council agreed to have the finance committee discuss the matter.

On Oct. 28, borough Manager Don Pepe said it was determined the borough could provide roughly $30,000 as a bridge loan, with an unsecured promissory note agreement requiring the skate park group to repay that money next year.

It also includes a $10,000 contribution from the borough that will not need to be repaid. Pepe said the numbers could change slightly, but the estimates are fairly solid.

“We're projecting our share would not be more than $10,000, but if it is we'd have to come back and take a look at it,” Pepe told council.

Mayor Allen Bayer said the funds will be taken from the 2019 budget, and won't carry into 2020. He said council knew a request like this would be on the horizon when the project began a decade ago.

“The buck stops at council,” he said. “We knew that going in.”

Councilman Gregg Semel pointed out it is the first contribution the borough has made to the project, “which is amazing in a small way.”

“This is our park,” added Councilwoman Mary Hess.

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J.W.  Johnson Jr.

J.W. Johnson Jr.

J.W. Johnson Jr. is the bureau chief of the Cranberry Eagle. Johnson is a native of Bellaire, Ohio, and graduated from Bellaire High School in 2004. He is a 2009 graduate of Ohio University in Athens with a bachelor of specialized studies degree in English and journalism. While there, he served as a reporter and editor at The Post, the university’s student-run, independent newspaper. In 2009, he was hired as a reporter for The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register in Wheeling, W.Va. Over the course of eight years, he also served as Marshall County bureau chief, city editor and news editor. He also won two first place West Virginia Press Association Awards for his reporting and design work. He and his wife, Maureen, live in Carnegie.