After a series of fits and starts, the Mt. Oliver Borough Military Banner Program is poised to display photographs on banners on light poles in the business district.

Prior to approving the guidelines, Councilmember Lisa Pietrusza expressed concerns that the community at large would be represented on the banners. She also wanted to be cautious about replicating other municipalities and creating a banner program just because other boroughs have them.

Councilmember Aaron Graham asked how the public would be made aware of the program. It was decided information about the program would be added to the Borough’s quarterly newsletters and posted on its social media platforms. Applications would also be available at events in the Borough. Deadline for submitting an application would be December 31, 2022.

Mx. Pietrusza asked if they only received applications for white men between 70 and 80 years old, approximately five percent of the Borough’s population, if they would still go through with the program.

Council Vice President Tina Reft, chairing the meeting in Amber McGough’s absence, said it was a voluntary program and they were choosing to recognize the military service of those who apply.

“This Borough has a long history of racism and redlining and everything they can do to keep out people of color and I think it’s really dangerous to say that we’re going to let this do a voluntary program and sit back and let whatever happens, happens, and have no say over it because we washed our hands of it. But it’s clear everyone’s in favor of it,” Mx. Pietrusza said.

Mayor JoAnna said she didn’t disagree with Mx. Pietrusza, but said with outreach they should be able to reach everyone interested in participating. She also didn’t think it would be appropriate to cancel the program.

“I think the responsibility falls on us to get the word out,” she said.

According to the guidelines, only service members who are current residents or an immediate relative to a current resident are eligible for the Military Banner Program. Proof of service and documentation of residency is required.

Applications will be available at the Borough Building, 150 Brownsville Road. Information needed includes: Proof of residency; Proof of service; Branch; Rank; A 600 dpi scan of an original photograph saved as a jpeg file with the service member’s name. If needed, the photo may be scanned at the Borough Building, by appointment only.

Additional information is required on the application along with a $25 check made out to: Mt. Oliver Borough.

Banners will be displayed in the 300 to 500 blocks of Brownsville Road. No specific location is guaranteed for any placement.

The banners will be displayed from Memorial Day to Veteran’s Day for three years. During the times when the banners are not displayed, they will be stored by the Borough. At the end of the three-year period, individual banners will be returned to the applicant. Should an individual banner be damaged, it will be removed and returned to the applicant. The applicant may order a replacement banner to be installed.

There are approximately 20 poles available for the banners. If needed, each pole can accommodate two banners for a total of 40 available placements.

Applications will be taken on a first come, first served basis. If more applications are received than available placements, a waiting list will be established.

Tom Smith is the former Managing Editor of the South Pittsburgh Reporter from 2000 until 2023. Following in his mother's footsteps, he delivered news that changed our world.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *