Jerry Andree, Township Manager

Jerry Andree, Township Manager

No level of government has more impact on daily life than local government. That’s why my colleagues and I at Cranberry Township are passionate about pushing the limits of excellence to provide the best possible services to our residents and customers. However, being well-served is not a passive achievement; it is a collective undertaking. Through this blog, we offer our personal reflections on that assignment. And we hope it will help engage you in joining us on that same collaborative mission.

Nov 26

Cranberry…We Belong Together

Posted on November 26, 2019 at 10:44 PM by Jerry Andree

The last few days provided amazing examples of the community spirit that makes Cranberry such a desirable place to live, work and play.

On Thursday evening our Board of Supervisors approved a series of items that put into action the final steps of the Route 228 Corridor Master Plan adopted in 1995: the MSA Thruway. 

This Thruway will provide long-term benefits to the traveling public. It will avoid Route 228 from experiencing the well-known back-ups witnessed on Interstate 79 Northbound at Route 910, while also alleviating traffic on Route 228 itself.

The project is dedicated to the leadership and support of MSA Safety, the force behind the development of Cranberry Woods. It is also the last step in a partnership to build a mirror-quality development on the north side of Route 228 known as Cranberry Springs. Between these two high-quality developments, over 10,000 family sustaining jobs will exist.

Then Friday night in partnership with the Butler/Cranberry Eagle, a greatly enhanced Santa’s First Stop was launched, attracting well over 4,500 individuals. The Eagle arranged for over 15 magnificent ice sculptures to be on-hand, sponsored by a host of local organizations. 

Ernie DiMartino of DiMartino Ice, the producer of hundreds of these types of shows, said he has never seen so many children at one of these events. That is what Cranberry is all about: bringing families together.

Cranberry is also about giving back, and that spirit was on full display Friday as attendees to the First Stop event packed a Township ambulance with toys, games, stuffed animals and dozens of other items. Those gifts will be given to Toys for Tots and will bring some holiday cheer to those less fortunate.

Friday night also showcased nearly 40 holiday trees decorated in the Municipal Center. Each tree represents the great work of the many organizations that make Cranberry such a desirable place to live, work and play.

I am so very proud to work for a community that values partnerships to advance shared visions. To sustain those partnerships requires honesty and respect for each, and this past weekend showed that those qualities are the DNA of our community.

If you have a comment, please email me at jerry.andree@cranberrytownship.org.

Nov 01

It’s not our Tradition to Change

Posted on November 1, 2019 at 10:53 AM by Jerry Andree

Our Township phones never stopped ringing throughout the day on Halloween with urgent pleas to either keep or change the date for Trick-or-Treat.  After all, the forecast was for heavy rain and wind which, according to some, would ruin the kids’ candy, soak their costumes, and create a safety hazard for everyone.  And besides, a bunch of other communities in the area had decided to change theirs to Friday or Saturday. 

At the same time, we got plenty of impassioned calls urging us to keep the date at October 31, usually because the resident had made arrangements which would be disrupted or would even have to be cancelled, often at considerable cost and inconvenience, if we were to switch the date. 

What people didn’t realize was the question had been resolved for us a long time ago.  That’s because, some years earlier, we had a very similar situation occur on Halloween and, out of an abundance of caution, we did move the Trick-or-Treat time by a couple days.  At the time, we thought it was the right thing to do.  But it made a lot of residents really angry, and we didn’t hear the last of it for months thereafter.  That’s when our Board of Supervisors made a decision: Halloween and Trick-or-Treat would henceforth be observed on October 31 – no matter what.

A few years later, it snowed on that date, and the kids had to plow through six inches of snow to collect their candy.  It turned out to be one of the most memorable Trick-or-Treat nights ever.  Nobody got hurt or frostbitten, and our public safety services were out in force, just as they are now, providing an extra layer of security throughout the community.

So, notwithstanding the pleas to change our Halloween observance to some other night, we stood by the Board’s calendar decision.  And in a stroke of good fortune, the rain stopped right around 6:00 – the official start of the Trick-or-Treat – allowing hundreds of happy kids to circulate through our neighborhoods, without having to wear ponchos over their costumes, and enjoy the cool but dry evening air.

Cranberry is a very busy, activity-centered community with school events, working parents, vacation schedules, and more to balance.  Arbitrarily moving fixed holiday dates doesn’t do anyone a favor; it just scrambles people’s schedules.  Western Pennsylvania is a four-season climate, and precipitation is just part of the normal weather cycle here.  So, in Cranberry Township, tradition trumps Mother Nature.

Your feedback is always welcome. Please feel free to email me at Jerry.Andree@CranberryTownship.org
Oct 22

What do cable service and the Loch Ness Monster have in common?

Posted on October 22, 2019 at 11:15 AM by Jerry Andree

A good hoax never dies.  Colorful urban myths and dark political conspiracies are as American as pizza pie.  They just keep getting repeated, and sometimes embellished, as they pass from person to person, frequently with help from the Internet.  

One of those evergreen myths concerns Cranberry.  You must have heard the one about how Cranberry, for some dark, sinister reason, has conspired to block Verizon, AT&T, Time-Warner and others from providing cable service to Township residents.  It’s a doozy, and it’s managed to keep coming back in one form or another throughout my 27 years in Cranberry.  

The only problem is that there’s no truth to it.  The fact is that Cranberry welcomes companies that want to invest in communication infrastructure here.  And in the realm of commercial customers, that’s already happening.  Comcast has been laying fiber optic cable and investing in broadband internet service to businesses in each of the Township’s major business parks.  So has DQE Communications, a unit of Duquesne Light.  

Providing internet service to companies is an attractive business proposition; they typically include a lot of employees in a compact space, so wiring them up costs less per user.  And they’re able to offer pricey specialized services that ordinary consumers would have no use for.  

Residential service is a different story.  For one thing, it’s expensive.  Each customer must have a cable physically installed, usually through an underground trench, one home at a time.  No newly arrived company is going to want to build its own network alongside one already in place; the economics just don’t work.  

Another issue is that cable television is in decline; more and more people are choosing to be “cable cutters,” opting instead to watch video services streaming over the internet.  Although cable companies today also provide landline phone service, conventional phones are also in decline.  Just about everyone carries a cell phone today.  And most people don’t want to buy the cable company’s home security service.  So that leaves internet as the only really high value service a cable company can offer.  

But there’s also a bright spot on the horizon: it’s 5G technology, which is wireless, but with far greater capacity than regular cell service – so much so that it could rival and eventually even replace much of what cable companies offer today.  Cranberry has streamlined its regulations concerning rights-of-way usage and transmitter placement in anticipation of that technology coming in.  And we’re working closely with the 5G Coalition to make sure we’re ready to take advantage of that service as soon as it’s available. 

In the meantime, you are welcome to call any cable or wireless provider you want and encourage them to come into Cranberry.  We won’t stand in their way.  In fact, we love new technology and we welcome new investment.  If they tell you the Township doesn’t want to let them in, have them call or email me: jerry.andree@cranberrytownship.org.  I’ll be glad to straighten them out.