EAST BRADY – Representatives of East Brady Borough Council and the East Brady Area Development Corporation (EBADC) last week highlighted improvements to the downtown area as four new projects were recently unveiled.
Two of the projects were the result of joint ventures between East Brady Borough and the EBADC. The remaining two were handled individually by the borough and the EBADC.
Trail Town Kiosk
The first joint venture is the addition of a new three-panel kiosk along Kellys Way in East Brady which provides photos, information and maps of the town and local trails.
According to EBADC secretary and chairperson of the Towns and Trails Committee Toni Henry, East Brady’s kiosk project was part of a multi-community project initiated by the Towns and Trails Regional Coalition to establish a connection between the Armstrong and Redbank Valley trail towns. In addition to East Brady, similar kiosks that have been or are expected to be installed in Ford City, Kittanning, Lawsonham and Rimersburg.
“The goal of the kiosk is to let trail users know what’s here and hopefully draw them into town,” Henry said. “It’s finished, installed and hopefully being looked at.”
The kiosk, which was installed at the All Stars parking lot in early October, includes two informational panels and a community bulletin board featuring events and other town news, Henry said. One panel focuses on the history and businesses of East Brady, with information provided by the Bradys Bend Historical Society. The other is dedicated to the Armstrong Trail, featuring briefs on the Redbank Valley and Erie to Pittsburgh trails.
“The Armstrong and Redbank Valley trails are connected,” she said. “We wanted people to know that there is a lot of riding in the area.”
Funding for the kiosk was provided by the Towns and Trails Coalition through the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, with assistance from the Armstrong County Memorial Hospital Foundation as well as public contributions. Farmers National Bank also donated money specifically for the East Brady panel.
“This project was funded completely by grants and donations,” Henry said, noting that the total cost of the kiosk was approximately $17,000. “We also couldn’t have done it without the cooperation of the All Stars who gave us permission to put the kiosk on their property.”
Riverfront Park Pavilion
In their second collaborative project, the EBADC and borough recently completed a pavilion in Riverfront Park.
Although the cement flooring for the pavilion was poured when the park was completed in October 2015, the construction had not been funded. Through a $10,000 pledge from the EBADC, individual donations and proceeds from yoga in the park classes this summer, the 32-foot hexagon-shaped pavilion was set earlier this fall.
“It’s not quite completed,” East Brady Borough Council president Barb Mortimer said of the pavilion, noting that structure still needs signage and a donation plaque. She added that the pavilion is one more phase in the completion of the Riverfront Park project.
“It’s a nice, quiet spot,” Mortimer continued. Setting on the bank of the Allegheny River, the pavilion is the perfect setting for any community activity, she added. “It’s the perfect place to sit and watch the eagles.”
New signage now also greets people as they enter or leave East Brady Borough, as three signs were recently placed in town, welcoming visitors to the borough and highlighting the Arnold Beabout Community Center and borough office.
“The old signs were worn out,” Mortimer said of why borough council members voted earlier this summer to replace the old welcome signs. “It was time to replace them.”
Adorned with words welcoming visitors to the borough, two four-foot-by-eight-foot signs were placed near the borough limits — one at the top of the hill across from the East Brady Volunteer Fire Department along Route 68, and another crossing the river on the Carl Curran Bridge. A third four-foot-by-six-foot sign directing people to the community building was also installed at the bottom of Ferry Street.
The brightly colored orange signs were designed by Lucky Kline of Kline Signs of New Bethlehem and purchased with East Brady Borough general funds.
“We wanted something attractive and long-lasting for the community,” Mortimer said.
EBADC Artist Window
A vacant storefront in the heart of downtown East Brady is now adorned with local artwork thanks to a rehabilitation effort spearheaded by the EBADC.
The project, located along Kellys Way next to the Old Bank Deli, is a good example of what a little paint and some volunteers can do in a community.
“I looked at that window and thought it had possibility,” said Henry, a former art teacher. “I think this is the most fun project I’ve done, and it’s definitely better than an empty storefront,”
After cleaning and refreshing the building facade, EBADC officials offered local artists a place to display their wares. The current holiday display features a number of paintings, crafts, ornaments, decorations and more by several different artists.
Most recently, the display has expanded to include artwork created by Karns City High School students in Lindsay Green’s art classes.
“The quality of the student artwork we’ve received is wonderful,” Henry said, noting that volunteers try to switch out art displays every six weeks or so. “Lindsay has been great to work with.”
Since its unveiling several months ago, Henry said she has heard several positive comments regarding the artist window project and the attention it is drawing to the community.
“Lindsay told me that she’s had parents come over just to see their child’s artwork in the window,” she said.
Any artist interested in displaying artwork in the window should contact EBADC at email@example.com.
“You don’t just have to be from East Brady,” Henry added.
Open to the public, EBADC meetings are held at 6:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month at the Allegheny Hills Retirement Residence in East Brady.
“We’d love to hear ideas from other people,” Henry said.
“East Brady is not dead,” she continued. “There are a lot of positive things going on here.”