Communications

February 2019 Pension Plan for Police and Non- Uniform

Survey Results

Bell Acres Initiates Enhanced Changes – Explores Others
As Part of Its Implementable Comprehensive Planning Process

In the next few months, Bell Acres Borough will begin to implement some changes as a result of the comprehensive planning process it started in 2017. The first change will be in the area of Borough communications, with improvements also anticipated in some other aspects of Borough operations and community life.

A Comprehensive Plan is a policy document that local governments develop to guide how the community should change over the course of about 10 years. An “implementable” plan focuses on aspects of community life and municipal decision-making that are both important to residents and feasible to achieve. The Borough’s Planning Commission is overseeing development of this Plan, assisted by Pashek+MTR, a consulting firm based in Pittsburgh’s North Side.

Bell Acres began its planning process in 2017 and 2018 with a “listening phase,” said Jim Pashek, founding partner at Pashek+MTR. “For Comprehensive Plans to have much hope of getting enacted, it is crucial that they focus on what is important to the people who have the most at stake – the residents. Bell Acres reached out to the public in many ways to find out what matters most to people in the Borough.”

To learn what issues are most important to members of the public, the Planning Commission interviewed residents and stakeholders, produced a community-wide questionnaire and held a public meeting. Pashek explained that, from those sources of input, the Planning Commission identified the following issues that the Plan should strive to address:

Protect Green Space and Enhance Trails

  • Develop ways of preserving green space and the funding mechanism to do so
  • Improve on-road bicycle trails
  • Expand development and funding of parks and trails in parks and protected green space

Improve Borough Communications

  • Raise awareness through education of what exists now
  • Continue public engagement including strategies to expand the Borough’s website and access to social media

Address Infrastructure Needs

  • Sewage problems in Hawthorn Acres
  • Flooding of Turkey Foot and Sevin roads
  • Road resurfacing strategies

In summer 2019, the Planning Commission assembled a working group of residents to brainstorm ways to improve Borough communications and to collaborate with Borough Manager Charlie Kulbacki, Borough Secretary Lisa Fleming and Borough Council members to identify realistic next steps. “Initial improvements are under development”, said Diane Abell, chairperson of the Planning Commission and a member of the Communications working group.

Of the three key issues, Abell said, “The Planning Commission wanted to focus first on improvements in Borough communications for the simple reason that this step would help residents stay abreast of improvements in all three of the key issue areas, and allow them to become more engaged and involved in community life.”

This month, the Planning Commission recruited citizen volunteers to participate in a working group that will identify ways to protect green space and enhance trails in the Borough.

In addition, Pashek has been collaborating with the Borough Engineer and Bell Acres staff and officials to better understand infrastructure needs and begin to identify potential solutions.