Recent business closures throughout Shenango Township had residents looking to their supervisors for a solution during Thursday’s monthly meeting.

“What are we, or you going to do, as a township with now we’re losing Kmart? We’re losing Family Dollar. T& M’s going to be moving out of the plaza whenever they build their new facility,” said Barbra Thompson. “This section of Shenango Township is looking like ... a ghost town. It looks bad now. What’s it going to look like in three months from now?”

Both Family Dollar and Kmart announced within the last several weeks their intent to close their township locations in already dwindling plazas.

“We’re in constant contact with the property owners,” Supervisor Frank Augustine said. “We talked to Chip (Harrup), the property owner there, you know, he was blindsided by the Kmart thing. He had no idea.”

“As a township, we’re not developers,” supervisor Brandon Rishel said. “We do not go out and get new business. That’s what a lot of people in this room think that’s what the job of supervisors. We have to make an environment conducive to get new business to come here.”

Rishel said a few components larger businesses like Target look at when potentially opening in a new community is population and car traffic.

Supervisor Albert Burick said 8,900 cars drive on Route 65 everyday, but businesses look for 12,000 to 15,000 cars or more per day.

“It’s a competitive market out there, so we don’t want to sit here and go over everything we’re going to do and what our strategy or plan is over the next three to six months because we know everybody else is going to do the same thing that what we do. And then all of the sudden, we’re not one step ahead of them.”

Bill Watkins inquired about an ordinance from 2008 pertaining to tapping into and receiving water from Pennsylvania American Water Company.

“Do you have to take the water from the water company?” asked Watkins.

Rishel explained any house within 150 feet of the company’s water line must tap in to access their public water supply. If residents do not comply, the township will enforce sanctions set forth in the Pennsylvania Code for Townships, which includes

liens and fines.

“Wish you were in that same boat!” said Watkins.

“What does my boat have anything to do with you getting water?” asked the township’s solicitor Louis Perrotta. “You said I’m in the same boat. What does that have to do with anything?...You asked a question and we answered it.”

In other news:

•The supervisors reiterated the importance of participating in the 2020 census.

•Supervisor Albert Burick alerted the public of two PennPower scam alerts that have been occurring in the township.

•An application submitted by T& M Hardware for land development was denied.

•A motion to advertise an ordinance to change the name of Shenango Park Drive was approved.

•The general fund expenses totaling $109,923.83 was approved.

•The fire tax fund totaling $9,029 was approved.

•The payroll fund expenses totaling $84,814.94 was approved.

•A traffic signal maintenance agreement with Bruce & Merilees totaling $8,064 was approved.


Maria Basileo is a news reporter. She covers Laurel and Shenango school boards and municipal government.

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