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Latrobe greenspace planner Keith named 1st Robershaw Fellow

Date: 11/12/2014

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Latrobe greenspace
planner Keith named 1st Jack Robertshaw Fellow

 

 

 

 

Dana Keith, senior environmental planning major
at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, has been named as a Jack Robertshaw
Fellow. Pictured are John Turack, interim executive director of Smart Growth
Partnership (from left); Keith, and Jared Trunzo, interim executive director of
the Latrobe Community Revitalization Program.

 

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By Stacey Federoff

Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

dated 15 hours ago

 

Dana Keith is so proud of her work to help plan the greenspace at
the corner of Main and Ligonier streets in Latrobe, she sometimes makes a
special trip from her home in Indiana, Pa., just to check on its progress.

“Every couple of weeks, I take a drive to see how the grass is
growing,” she said.

Keith, 26, a senior majoring in environmental planning at Indiana
University of Pennsylvania, was named the first Jack Robertshaw Fellow for her
work this summer with the city of Latrobe and the Latrobe Community
Revitalization Program.

She completed traffic studies to determine if Main and Depot
streets should be returned to two-way traffic to better accommodate drivers as
well as other studies to control traffic or add a bike lane. Plans for the
small park were included.

John Turack, interim executive director of Smart Growth
Partnership, which granted Keith the honor, said her plans aligned with the
mission of the nonprofit that encourages thoughtful long-term planning and
development in Westmoreland County communities.

“This one project is a part of a long-term engagement with
Latrobe,” Turack said. “Often students are in the best position to create a
discussion about a different way of doing things.”

Keith found that changing the one-way streets back to serving
vehicles in both directions was more expensive than she believed it would be:
about $150,000 per intersection because of relocation of utility poles to
accommodate a truck turning radius at each corner.

“It’s not as easy as just repainting lines,” she said.

In another scenario, her work moved the parking lane into the
middle of the street and added a bike lane nearest the curb. After working last
summer in Latrobe with the revitalization program and Latrobe-Unity Parks &
Recreation on the Lincoln Avenue trail project, Keith realized a bike lane on
Main Street could connect Lincoln Avenue to a future St. Vincent College trail
into the city, providing one long continuous path through Latrobe.

“To have that all be connected would be an asset,” she said.

Jarod Trunzo, interim executive director of the revitalization
program, said Keith’s work was very helpful for the city’s greenspace planning,
since her ideas included ways to beautify the area where the fire-damaged
Ligonier Street Grub and Pub was demolished.

“We wanted to enhance that area as much as we could,” he said.

Keith used her background in graphic design to draw up the plans
so officials could clearly see how the space would come together.

She said receiving the fellowship after working in Latrobe on
multiple projects was a labor of love, especially since Trunzo and other city
officials made her feel so welcome.

“I was thrilled,” Keith said. “It was definitely unexpected.”

The city has many great assets, like the combination of
industrial, commercial and residential uses in certain areas, and plans like
these can help spur discussion and enthusiasm among residents, Turack said.

“Communities need champions for new ideas and champions with the
stamina to stick with things and make them happen,” he said.

Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total
Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 or
sfederoff@tribweb.com.  

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