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Clarion County Looking for a Larger Piece of the Economic & Industrial Development Grant Pie

Thursday, January 23, 2020 @ 12:01 AM

Posted by Ron Wilshire

commissionersCLARION, Pa. (EYT) – “I think this whole thing is fantastic, and we’ll have all the entities in the county working together, and it’s been forever since they have,” Clarion County Commissioner Ted Tharan said on Tuesday morning at a work session, looking at the possible agenda for next week’s regular meeting.

Commissioners are considering a $30,000.00 writing contract with Delta Development of Mechanicsburg that would concentrate on grant writing and assistance for Clarion County in receiving grants from Harrisburg and Washington, D.C. contracts with other county entities would total $90,000.00.

“Delta Development does Butler County’s grants,” Tharan said.

“Delta Development also does Lycoming County, and they got $46 million in the last five years. Clarion County doesn’t use Delta, and they’ve only received $1.8 million, and that was for the YMCA RACP funding (with Delta Involvement).”

For example, a listing shows grant results by Clarion County, Jefferson County, Butler County, and Lycoming County totals for the last five years from 2014-18. Clarion County received $1.84 million dollars in grants; Jefferson County had $3.9 million; and Butler County $70 million.

Tharan, Wayne Brosius, and Ed Heasley, at the invitation of State Representative Donna Oberlander, met with LeRoy D. Kline, Jr, President, and CEO of Delta Development headquartered in Mechanicsburg. Kline is also a graduate of Clarion University.

“Delta had a timeline of all the grants that you could get for things in the county and transportation projects and infrastructure,” Tharan explained.

“Milissa Bauer scheduled meetings with groups like Economic Development, Industrial Development Authority, Clarion Borough, Northwest Aid Alliance of Clarion University, Clarion Hospital, and Delta.

“There are enough people now willing that we’re at $90,000.00, including Clarion County. There are all different aspects of grants that are out there that we don’t know about, and the ideal scenario is Donna Oberlander is now in positions of power in Harrisburg, and she has a lot of say in what happens, but one of the benefits about having Donna there is that she’s been there for 10 years now, and she can get stuff through and get stuff done.”

“So, hats off to Donna for bringing Delta in to see us and Milissa for spearheading this whole group and getting everything to come together. This now is all coming to fruition, and we can start applying for different grants for different things.”

“There’s a lot of things throughout the county that we could start looking at. The one thing that comes to mind is that the pedestrian footbridge in Sligo. It’s been a problem for years now, and there are transportation grants out there that we can go after to do that bridge.”

Other possible Clarion County projects could include needed improvements for road entrance to the peanut butter factory in New Bethlehem, Fiberboard Plant access, and many others.

Economic development will have a strategic plan that’s also going to work with the county on the comprehensive plan.

‘A lot of this will be public driven, too,” said Brosius. “We’ll have a steering committee set up from different entities from the hospital to realtors to government officials to municipalities to gather the information and see what we need.”

Now is the time to unite, according to all three commissioners.

“The time is right to do it and see what we can do. The possibilities are endless and we need to dream.”

Other business likely to be included in next week’s regular includes the following:

  • Commissioners will consider a contract with Zwick and Zwick LLP to provide legal services for the Public Defender’s office. The interim appointment would be effective January 16, 2020 to March 15, 2020, at a cost of $1,350.00 per week. The company has offices in Brookville and DuBois.
  • Commissioners will also hear three requests from the hotel tax committee:
  • North County Trails Association is requesting $3,000.00 from hotel tax funds for transportation to events, program guides, and promotional carry bags. 50 percent of the funds would be disbursed at the time of approval and 50 percent disbursed after completion.
  • The Autumn Leaf Festival is requesting $2,500.00 for print and radio advertisements. 50 percent of the funds disbursed at the time of approval and 50 percent disbursed after completion.
  • Saint Joe’s Fourth of July is requesting $2,000.00 for advertising. 50 percent of funds will be disbursed at the time of approval and 50 percent disbursed after completion.
  • The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has requested a waiver of $2,500.00 in GIS fees.
  • Multiple contracts will be considered on behalf of CYS with Clarion County Promise with terms from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020:
  • For the collaborative board, Youth Council, and PAYS data coordinator a cost of $41,000.00 with a county match of 20 percent.
  • For homemaker mentor in-home assistance to families, budgeting, home organization, cleaning, etc. at a cost of $30,000.00 with the county match at 20 percent.
  • For family group decision making at cost of $40,000.00 and a county match of $2,000.00.
  • For in-home parenting services, periodic developmental screenings for children ages birth through five years old. A cost of $211,223.00 and a county match of 20 percent.

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