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WINDBER, Pa. -- Compromises by both Sheetz Inc. and the borough of Windber have paved the way for construction to begin soon on a controversial new Sheetz convenience store in the heart of the business district here, The Tribune-Democrat reported.
Company and borough officials announced the terms of their agreement after Senior Judge Charles H. Loughran approved the settlement of Sheetz’s lawsuit in Somerset County Court. Sheetz took legal action after Borough Council rejected its plans in May.
Council members said the store would interfere with the historic nature of the central business district and create traffic and pedestrian safety concerns, the report said.
"We are excited to partner with Windber Borough on this project," Sheetz President and CEO Stan Sheetz stated. "The people of Windber have supported Sheetz for many years, and we are committed to being a part of this community for many years to come."
Windber Borough Manager Casey Durdines told the newspaper "the teamwork demonstrated by Sheetz on this project has more than satisfied borough council. I think cooler heads prevailed. We sat down and tried to work something out, instead of having somebody win and somebody lose," he said.
Sheetz agreed to several design changes to help its modern c-store fit into the borough’s historic downtown. The building, screening wall and primary sign columns will be constructed of bricks matching the nearby Wall of Fame in Miners Memorial Park. The bricks also match the Arcadia Theatre, Windber Coal Heritage Center and other structures dating to the borough’s days as a Berwind-White Coal Mining Co. town.
The new store also will feature antique-style streetlights to match others in the borough, three decorative faux windows facing Graham Avenue, and colored, stamped concrete sidewalks, according to the The Tribune-Democrat report. Sheetz agreed to rehabilitate and pave the borough alley that provides rear access to the new store, and to introduce several traffic- and pedestrian-safety improvements as well.
For customers, the new Sheetz will mean improved services, incorporating many features not available in the existing store at 901 Graham Ave. An espresso bar and expanded selection of fresh made-to-order food and "One of the hardest things we’ve dealt with as we improve our offerings is how to make it all fit into older buildings," Sheetz said.
A construction timetable has not yet been announced for the new store.
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