Commissioners to Fight to Keep Allegheny Locks Operating

Leader Times
18 February 2011
By Mitch Fryer

KITTANNING -- The Armstrong County Commissioners plan to be at the Army Corps of Engineers public meeting Thursday in West Kittanning in support of keeping the upper locks of the Allegheny River open for the county's recreational boaters.

The Army Corps of Engineers is trying to decide whether to close the locks in the face of proposed federal budget cuts for the river's locks and dams budget in the upcoming fiscal year.

The public hearing will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at the West Kittanning fire hall at 401 Arthur St.

"We're going to get hurt by the closing (of the locks)," said Commissioner Jim Scahill at Thursday's county commissioners' meeting. "We will fight for (keeping) them (open)."

Scahill said the county depends heavily on the revenues that come with boating on the river from locks 5 to 9 and the Riverfront Park and amphitheater in Kittanning.

"There is a lot of river traffic," Scahill said. "This river is unique. This (closing) leaves five ponds."

Scahill believes more commercial use of the locks is necessary.

"The commercial traffic is the only thing that will trigger Corps of Engineers' spending on the river locks," he said.

"We want to be part of the solution to keep the locks open," added Commissioners Rich Fink. "It's a very important part of our infrastructure."

Mitch Fryer can be reached at or 724-543-1303 x1342.