I love Cranberry. And lately, we’ve been having a surge of groundbreakings, unveilings, dedications and grand openings throughout the Township. It’s been exhilarating. And it looks as though we could go on that way for years to come.
Lately they’ve included, in no particular order: a library renovation, a new sewer line interceptor, a public safety training center, a new water main, a new sidewalk, a new pump station, a new woodlands trail, a new sports training complex, a new playground, new roads, and more. Pretty soon, we’ll be adding a new EMS base station, new highway ramps, and a new parochial high school to that list. And eventually, there will be even more, including an expanded wastewater treatment plant, new park facilities, and other infrastructure amenities.
Of course, not all the development projects we’ve been celebrating here are Township initiatives. Many of them, like the proposed UPMC-Lemieux Sports Complex and the Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School, as well as new hotels, office buildings, stores and homes, are private. And some, like the ramps now under construction between Rt. 228 and I-79, come from PennDOT. But there is a fundamental bond between these public and private sector developments.
It’s this: the comprehensive plan our Board of Supervisors adopted in 2009 – which was a greatly enhanced and sophisticated treatment of the vision first articulated in our 1995 plan – wasn’t simply aimed at the 28,000 people who lived here at that time. It was focused on meeting the needs of a community of 50,000 with a multi-billion dollar economy by 2030. It’s what I think of as governing over the horizon rather than managing day-by-day.
It means anticipating needs and paving the way to enable orderly growth, rather than being forced to deal with a series of unexpected crises and crunches as they arise. That takes vision, and I am very proud of our Board for consistently maintaining a long view of the issues affecting Cranberry.
In preparing the Township’s long-range plan, a lot of thought went into calculating those growth projections. Now, nearly five years later, they have shown themselves to be remarkably prescient – particularly where it concerns our growth as a regional economic hub.
But preparing for a community whose population is expected to nearly double in just 20 years means making sure the public infrastructure – fresh water, sanitary sewers, roads, stormwater management, recreational assets, public safety, and so on, can handle it. Getting to that point has been driving the Township’s agenda for the past few years.
Eventually – maybe in another 15-20 years – things will settle down and the pace of new development here will drop off. That’s because the zoning system our Board adopted puts a cap on growth; we expect that by 2030 Cranberry will be built out to the limits of its zoning ordinance, and 50,000 is about where that limit takes us.
In the meantime, if it seems as though we’re moving at warp speed in our development, it’s because we’re hard at work preparing ourselves for a fast-approaching future. And the projects we are celebrating today form the backbone of that future.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about Cranberry’s growth. Write me at: firstname.lastname@example.org