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Mackin, an engineering and consulting firm that has a Pittsburgh office, has the “high” recommendation of city staff and a search committee, City Manager Gary P. Hinkson said.
“Our feeling was that this firm is well-qualified to deliver a good product,” Hinkson said. “We’re excited to work with them.”
Mackin was one of three firms interviewed and would charge $94,456, he said. The company’s proposal was the lowest cost of three, although cost “was not the most important factor considered,” Hinkson said.
A comp plan is a blueprint for growth, taking into account infrastructure, transportation, recreation, environmental protection and other factors, said Marcia A. Hirschmann, city director of planning and development.
The city has undertaken plans that address specific issues or areas, such as recreation plan updates and the East State Street corridor study, but last took a look at the entire city for a plan adopted in 1993.
When commissioners approved beginning the update process, officials noted the city has changed a lot since then. It has experienced: business development on North Hermitage Road and around the area of the Shenango Valley Freeway and South Hermitage Road; stores abandoning the Shenango Valley Mall; significant industrial growth; and spotty residential growth.
Hinkson said he expects it will take about 18 months to complete the plan, which likely will lead to a zoning ordinance update and other changes.
The steering committee includes: members of city advisory boards; Senior Judge Francis J. Fornelli; former Penn-Northwest Development Corp. Director Larry Reichard; Shenango Valley Urban League Executive Director Dr. Erin Houston; Don Owrie, chief executive officer of UPMC Horizon; local developer John Hudson; and a mix of retirees, young people with families and single folks, Hinkson said.