Jan 12

Survey Says: Cranberry Is the Place to Be

Posted on January 12, 2022 at 10:54 AM by Dan Santoro

Why are you here?

Cranberry’s Board of Supervisors, administration and staff spend a lot of time and energy seeking the answers to that question. It’s a guiding query that helps our day-to-day work.

A recent editorial in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette summed up our findings quite well.

“Tax rates, housing costs, transportation, growth potential, crime rates, climate, arts and culture, and access to services all influence population trends,” the piece states.

Based on those items, it’s no surprise Cranberry Township is a place people want to be.

The editorial is a response to data outlined in the 2020 Census, which shows that many communities in Western Pennsylvania are struggling to retain population. And in a domino effect, that impacts the quality of life for those who remain.

The reasons are many for this population loss and will undoubtedly be the subject of much discussion for the next decade.

Cranberry, however, bucks that trend. Preliminary numbers show what we’ve expected and planned to address for decades: continued, measured, sustained growth. The Township grew by nearly 5,000 residents over the last decade. It’s the largest growth seen by any municipality in the region, according to data highlighted in the Post-Gazette.

It further confirms the adage that if you aren’t growing, you’re dying. And that slow death has tangible effects, as outlined in the Post-Gazette editorial.

“Economically, population decline can undermine local tax bases and erode basic services, as well as infrastructure, police and fire services, electricity grids and quality schools. Pennsylvania is already struggling to care for its elderly residents,” the editorial states. “Population decline also means a growing imbalance between workers and retirees.”

In summation, “these trends will continue, unless local and state governments, working with the private sector, do something about them.”

That’s something our Board of Supervisors has been doing for decades. They have been proactive in preparing for this expected growth since the mid-1990s, and have been committed to maintaining high quality public services, improving infrastructure and expanding parks and recreation offerings.

The 2020 Census not only shows that we’ve planned accordingly for growth, but further proves that what we’re doing is working. Through community partnerships and hard work, we continue to be a place where residents and businesses want to call home.

Sustained growth will continue, and we continue to make sure the Township’s services and roadways are equipped to handle our new neighbors. We hope you’ll welcome them with open arms to Cranberry – a place where people want to be.

And while we perhaps didn’t need data to prove that it’s just one more way of reminding us we’re on the right path forward - for today and for decades to come.

Dec 31

Big Changes During a Trying Year

Posted on December 31, 2021 at 8:36 AM by Dan Santoro

It’s easy to look back on 2021 and only remember the trials and challenges.

Without a doubt, the past year has been full of hurdles as we deal with the ongoing pandemic and its impact on seemingly every aspect of our daily lives.

But there’s also much to celebrate, and in Cranberry Township that celebration comes in all forms. From the completion of large projects to simply being able to gather as a community once again, we were fortunate enough to return to normalcy in many ways.

After taking a break in 2020, events like Community Days, Santa’s First Stop, and the Memorial Day ceremony returned. The Township Farmers Market grew, building on its 2020 success. New events like the Easter Bunny Tour of our Township parks added a new tradition for residents young and old.

The parks themselves were perhaps busier than ever as youth sports returned in force. Our Waterpark was consistently full of cheerful swimmers and divers. For the first time, dogs were permitted on the trails at North Boundary Park, with owners taking full advantage. Ground was broken on a new, expanded dog area in Community Park, with a grand opening forthcoming in 2022.

And speaking of openings, many long-planned projects wrapped up, improving the quality of life for our residents and visitors.

The MSA Thruway is already having a positive impact on traffic flow on Route 228, while the opening of the Freedom Road Turnpike Bridge over the Pennsylvania Turnpike is the first step in a multi-year commitment to expanding the roadway. That’s not to mention a complete rebuild  of a section of Freshcorn Road, the Rochester Road widening and PennDOT’s repaving efforts on Route 19 and the completion of bridge work on Interstate 79 above North Boundary Road.

While the orange cones and barrels were perhaps a hassle this year, the result was improved infrastructure that will have a lasting impact.

Elsewhere, a new Burn Building at the Township’s Public Safety Training Center will give our first responders incomparable opportunities for hands-on training. They wasted no time this year gathering colleagues from around the region – and even worked to involve potential future firefighters.

Ribbons were also cut on two projects backed by the Cranberry Township Community Chest: the Public Library Makerspace and the Rotary Amphitheatre in Community Park. Both opened to major fanfare and will be major assets to the Township for decades to come.

Both of those projects could not have happened without the support of the community, which again came together in 2021 to help those in need. From our Snow and Leaf Angel programs to volunteer cleanup efforts, our residents and businesses were there to answer the call whenever the phone rings.

That, to me, will be the lasting memory of 2021. As I wrap up my first year as your Township Manager, I’m humbled and inspired by the commitment and dedication of the Cranberry community to help one another. There is no project too large or small, and never a shortage of people waiting to get involved to make our community better.

On behalf of our Township staff and our Board of Supervisors, I thank you for your efforts in making 2021 a banner year for Cranberry Township. I am excited for what 2022 and beyond holds for the future of our great community.  

Jul 19

Fact or Fiction: Township Zoning Ordinance Update

Posted on July 19, 2021 at 10:40 AM by Dan Santoro

Oh, the things you hear (or read)!

The Township is aware of a plethora of misinformation being distributed throughout the community regarding a proposed zoning ordinance update.

To be clear, the representations made in some of the initial social media posts is inaccurate and features exaggerated and fabricated statements and figures.

The Board of Supervisors has always welcomed constructive feedback on proposed initiatives, and this proposal is no different.  

Originally introduced over six months ago, the Board of Supervisors, after receiving some initial resident concerns, directed staff to work with a citizens group who hired their own professional planner to review the proposal. The Board is now considering a revised proposal that is the product of that citizen engagement, including the input and endorsement of our citizen-led Planning Advisory Committee.     

The purpose of the proposed ordinance, rooted in the recommendations of the Cranberry Plan, is to provide the community with a sustainable mix of housing options that appeal to various ages and demographics.  

The proposal provides for a housing mix that creates more choice for potential home buyers. It also offers housing options for current residents wanting to stay in the Township but seeking to upsize or downsize their homes. 

It would NOT permit “high density” developments but instead would allow for developments at the same density of existing neighborhoods like Clearbrook, Freedom Woods, The Woodlands, Bellevue Park and Park Place. The revised proposal furthers the Board of Supervisors long-time commitment to ensuring the Township continues to be one of the most desirable and healthy communities in the state for many years to come.   

The ordinance would not allow the same density found in developments such as the Meeder plan, nor will it allow commercial uses or high-density multifamily housing. 

I can only speculate as to why inaccurate information and inflammatory language is being used to drive the social media discourse. However, I do encourage you to get the facts. 

Here is a link to FAQs and other information regarding the ordinance: cranberrytownship.org/planning.

If you would like to talk with someone in person, please do not hesitate to contact me or Ron Henshaw, our Director of Planning and Community Development, at 724-776-4806 or email us through the Township website.  

The meeting at which the proposal is being considered is July 29. As always, the Board of Supervisors welcome your attendance and comments.

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