MONESSEN – City residents will have an opportunity to share their thoughts on several key issues affecting the city.

During a workshop meeting Thursday, Deputy Mayor and council member Tony Orzechowski said two focus groups will be held simultaneously at the Douglas Education Center-Van Keulen Complex on Wednesday, Oct. 16, at 6 p.m. The groups will address revitalizing Monessen’s downtown district and eliminating housing blight.

Mackin Engineering, a consulting firm that is developing the city’s comprehensive plan, will moderate the groups.

Amy Wiles, chief community planner for Mackin Engineering, said revitalization and blight were two of the priorities identified by the public and comprehensive plan steering committee during a public meeting in August.

“The purpose of these focus group sessions is to discuss specific strategies for both of these goals that are realistic and can be implemented by the city and public/private partnerships. We are expecting to have a draft plan by the end of the year, with adoption occurring early next year,” said Wiles.

Orzechowski encouraged all residents to attend the groups and share their thoughts about the future of the city.

“Everyone’s input is important,” he said.

To RSVP for the focus groups, residents should call 412-200-5903 by Monday, Oct. 14.

Orzechowski also announced that the state Department of Transportation will host a public display of plans for the Route 906 reconstruction project on Tuesday, Oct. 15, from 4:30 to 6 p.m., at Monessen City Hall, and Arcelor Mittal will hold a community meeting at the Monessen Middle/High School auditorium on Thursday, Oct. 17, from 7 to 8 p.m. He said the latter meeting is a requirement under terms of a lawsuit settlement.

In other business:

n Don Gregor, first assistant chief for Monessen’s Hilltop Volunteer Fire Department, said residents should be wary of a fundraising letter coming from a Texas-based organization called The Volunteer Firefighter Alliance. Gregor said this organization is not related in any way to either of Monessen’s fire stations.

n Council approved a resolution designating Monessen resident Deborah Chromulak to serve as the Fair Housing Officer and the Section 504 Officer for the City of Monessen.

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