Project to Reduce the Threat of Floods is Announced in Sunbury

August 1, 2013

Nearly two years ago Sunbury Textile Mills sat surrounded by water as Tropical Storm Lee dumped more than 12-inches of rain over five days. Operations shut down, and the company's 200 employees were unable to work; lost wages exceeding $36,000 per day. Sunbury itself was protected by its flood wall and levees, but the storm water system leading to the Spring Run Pump Station was unable to convey water quickly enough for it to be discharged into Shamokin Creek. Water backed up, resulting in potentially damaging floods. 

On a hot, sunny day this summer, Congressman Lou Barletta (R-11) came to Sunbury Textile Mills announcing a grant award of $799,944 from the federal Economic Development Administration, which will allow the Sunbury Municipal Authority to replace the undersized, old style storm water system. Rather than the terra-cotta and concrete pipes currently in place, a larger, plastic coated, corrugated metal arch pipe will be installed for storm water flows, along with an 18" pipe for sanitary sewage.

The application to EDA was prepared and submitted by SEDA-COG, which will administer the grant and oversee the $1.3 million storm water project. The project also includes funds from the Municipal Authority.

In addition to Congressman Barletta, efforts to secure the EDA grant involved Senators Robert Casey and Pat Toomey, and Congressman Tom Marino (R-10), who represented Sunbury prior to reapportionment.

Read more about the Congressman's announcement. View photos on Facebook.
Efforts Underway to Develop Housing for the Elderly in Williamsport and Lewistown

Although still in the very early stages, the SEDA-COG Housing Development Corporation (HDC) is taking steps toward the development of apartment buildings for elderly individuals in the Lewistown and Williamsport areas.

Seven such buildings have been constructed through the HDC, the most recent of which is Lewistown's Mann Edge Terrace. When the building officially opened earlier this
Parkside Manor
Tenants enjoying one of the public spaces at Parkside Manor, Montoursville, one of seven buildings constructed through the SEDA-COG Housing Development Corporation (HDC).
year, all the apartments were either filled or spoken for. Currently there is a waiting list for approximately one hundred apartments, leading the HDC to begin planning a second phase of housing development for the elderly.

The original property acquired for Mann Edge Terrace - a brownfields site - was subdivided. Half was redeveloped, including construction of the apartment building; the other half is currently owned by the Mifflin County Industrial Development Corporation (MCIDC). Together, the HDC and MCIDC are exploring its use for a second phase of housing.

The HDC has applied to both the Borough of Lewistown and Mifflin County for a total of $250,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds which, if approved, would be used for land acquisition and engineering costs. A 34-unit, $6.5 million structure has been proposed. Early
Welsh Heights
The HDC also developed Welsh Heights, Danville, shown here shortly after it opened.
next year the HDC will apply to the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) for tax credits to develop the project.

In the case of Williamsport, natural gas exploration in the Marcellus Shale region continues to drive the need for affordable housing. According to Kim Wheeler, Lycoming County community development planner, there is a "...big wait list for senior housing in the county, and city, in particular..."

In response, the SEDA-COG HDC has developed plans for Grove Street Commons, a 32-unit, $6.2 million apartment building. The county is seeking funds for the project, plus contributing $270,000 from its allocation of natural gas impact fees.

In addition to the county, City Council has indicated its support for Grove Street Commons, recently approving the project's land development proposal. Based on media reports, Councilwoman Bonnie Katz visited one of the HDC's apartment buildings in Montoursville and came away impressed by the building as well as the tenant's satisfaction with it.

This fall the HDC will submit an application to PHFA for tax credits to develop Grove Street Commons.
Financing News . . .

The SEDA-COG Local Development Corporation has given preliminary approval to an SBA 504 loan of over $1.1 million to purchase a 76-room hotel in Harrisburg. CH Harrisburg plans to purchase the Comfort Inn on Allentown Blvd. The U.S. Small Business Administration will review and take final action on the loan. Bank financing and state financing for the project are anticipated as well as cash equity. The hotel currently has nine employees and ten additional jobs are anticipated over the next two years as a result of this project.

For more information on SEDA-COG's Business Development Financing program, contact John Reichard at 570-524-4491, ext. 7251, e-mail reichard@seda-cog.org, or visit us on the web.
Byte-sized News . . .

Municipalities are provided with free or low cost transportation-related training through LTAP, the Local Technical Assistance Program. Training is offered on topics like traffic control, road surface management, and equipment and worker safety. LTAP's annual report for 2012-13 is available here.

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