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On Monday August 20, 2007, residents of Laurel Mountain Borough awoke to the “beep beep” sounds of heavy equipment backing up. If they followed the sound, they saw equipment and men on White Oak Road near the intersection of Locust Road, where Don Ankney of Ankney Construction Company, Rector, said he was upgrading a three foot wide area of ditch (except where trees interfere) by laying geotech fabric in the ditch, then laying the pipe in and filling the remainder with rock to bring the ditch up to road level. He, managed to upgrade the 80 feet of ditch before the rains deluged them at noon.
The work could take up to three weeks, especially with rain being predicted every day this week.
Ankney was hired by Westmoreland Conservation District (WCD), which provided the funds to upgrade the ditches.
When council member and resident Daneen Kinsey was seeking information on dust suppressant last year she contacted the head of PENNDOT, who connected her with the DEP. She’s not certain if that was how her name was on a WCD mailing list, but she received a mailing followed by a phone call from Rob Kroneur at WCD telling her Laurel Mountain Borough might be eligible for a dirt and gravel road grant.
“We just got very, very lucky,” she said.
At the January 17, 2007 borough council meeting Daneen reported that Kroneur had visited the community and offered advice on filing a grant application for resolving the borough’s drainage problems. The grant is to upgrade the drainage ditch on White Oak Rd. to improve water runoff. The project will also increase the safety of White Oak Rd., since the ditch is deep enough to be dangerous.
“Oh yes, I think its very hazardous with the deep ditch,” Daneen said, “especially when cars go into it. It’s much too deep and it’s eroding the road away.”
With Kroneur’s help and the council’s approval, Daneen filled out the grant application. At the March council meeting Daneen reported the borough was approved for the grant. Half the funding would arrive soon, and the second half would be forthcoming, she reported. At the April meeting she said she’d received the first check.
Because the borough has no municipal workers and council members are unpaid the grant will cover both supplies and labor.
“Rob will supervise this. He will handle everything, he will supervise” Daneen said. “That was my main joy.”
Under the terms of the grant the WCD requires someone from the borough to attend two days of free classes that include a free lunch, Daneen said. “The class has to be attended every five years. It’s a small price to pay. I said someone will come, more than one can come. I hope all three of us (the road committee that includes Daneen, Monte Holland and John Miller) will go.” Daneen attended the class and brought back information to share with Monte and John, who couldn’t attend.
Many places in the borough have drainage problems that need to be addressed, Daneen said, citing the corner of Beechwood and White Oak Roads as one of the trouble spots. She hopes some of this site’s problems will be solved when the White Oak Rd. project is completed.
“We have the possibility of reapplying next year,” Daneen said. “There’s no reason he (Kroneur) can see why we can’t apply every year for this grant. I told him we were going to kiss him.”
Sometimes good things come in unexpected ways, she noted.