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Cranberry to Refinance, Take Out Loans for Capital Improvement Projects

Money would be used for additions to the Park Fire Station.

Taking advantage of current low interest rates, Cranberry officials on Thursday moved ahead with plans to refinance the township’s debts and to take out new loans to pay for public safety projects, including additions to the C

Township Manager Jerry Andree said Cranberry’s current sewer and water bond, taken out more than 20 years ago is about $28 million. By refinancing that loan at a lower interest rate, Andree said the township would save approximately $2.3 million. That money would be funneled back into the sewer and water department for improvement projects, he said.

The township also will take out $10 million in loans to upgrade the sewer and water lines and to expand public safety facilities. Andree said the loan’s interest rates start at 1.6 percent but rates could go as high as 3.5 percent.

Half of the $10 million would go toward the sewer and water line upgrades. The other $5 million would be used for new training and classrooms for the Park Station, one of two fire stations in Cranberry. The other is on Haine School Road. Public safety director Jeff Schueler said upgrades to the Park Station have been planned since 1996.

The money also could be used to add room at the fire station for Cranberry’s Emergency Medical Services.

Jeff Kelly, who replaced as the organization’s executive director in late June, said the service’s 12 full-time and 18 part-time EMS employees, plus one volunteer, are cramped at their location on Thomson Park Drive, which was built in the late 1980s.

“We’re outgrowing our current facility,” he said.

By moving to the Park Station, Kelly said ambulance workers could share the proposed training facilities and classrooms with firefighters. There also would be additional space for the company’s ambulances. The current facility has three ambulance bays. An addition to the Park Station could include four ambulance bays and room to grow, Kelly said.

Kelly said the service also would be more visible to residents if it moves to the Park Station, on Route 19 near

Fire Company President Bruce Hezlep said the new training facilities would help attract and retain new volunteers. The fire department trains twice a month at , he said. The new facilities would allow the volunteers to train just at the Park Station.

He added that one of the department’s newest volunteers specifically moved to Cranberry because of the fire companhy's aggressive training regimen.

“He said, ‘I want a place that trains a lot,’ ” Hezlep said. “I told him to stayed tuned.”

Andree said the money also would be used to add classrooms and meeting rooms to empty space inside the that once housed Cranberry’s . The space now is used for storage.

The capital improvement projects would take place over the next three years, Andree said.  

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