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Centre supports Philipsburg for facade grant

By EMMA GOSALVEZ

egosalvez@lockhaven.com

BELLEFONTE – Revitalize it and it will grow.

This is the hope for Philipsburg, as Dana Shoemaker, executive director of Philipsburg Revitalization Corporation, asked the Centre County Board of Commissioners Tuesday morning for a letter of support for a $50,000 Facade Improvement Grant request to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. The commissioners unanimously approved a motion to sign a letter of support for the request of the grant.

According to Shoemaker, the grant would be used to rehabilitate buildings in need of help, which includes repointing bricks, masonry work and fixing other structural issues with buildings.

In turn, fixing structural issues will help redevelop some buildings in the historic commercial area that really need help, which could attract people who may be interested in opening a business in Philipsburg.

“It’s a small borough, I think it’s less than 3,000 people, but it’s really interesting that when you start to show people a little bit of win here, a win there, then it really gives other folks a shot in the arm,” Shoemaker said.

Lately, Philipsburg has seen quite a few wins.

Commissioner Mark Higgins pointed out that there are currently two groups that are looking to move into Philipsburg, and each of those groups would bring half a dozen to a dozen additional jobs to the area. In addition, the Philipsburg Business Incubator recently gained its first tenant.

“People are starting to realize that it’s much less expensive to do business in Philipsburg, in the borough and in Rush Township,” Shoemaker added.

Shoemaker mentioned that a lot of the commercial and housing properties are receiving a lot of attention from a handful of developers who have seen the benefits of affordability in terms of living and doing business in the area.

“We really do have a really cool opportunity to bring these resources if we were to be granted them from the state department of community and economic development, to match with some of those private investment dollars,” Shoemaker said.

In addition at the meeting, Commissioner Steve Dershem presented a voter registration report that presents a record-breaking number of voters registered in the county. According to Dershem, as of Tuesday morning, there were 119,646 registered voters, which shows an increase of 1,613 since last Tuesday’s report.

“If you want to talk about milestones, that’s pretty amazing that we have that level of participation,” he said.

By day’s end, Dershem said he expects to see that number increase significantly, most likely over the 120,000 mark. Tuesday was the last day for voters to register to vote.

As of Tuesday morning, there were 49,761 voters registered with the Democratic Party, 261 with the Green Party, 767 with the Libertarian Party, 17,476 non-affiliated, and 46,259 with the Republican Party. There were also 5,122 minor party voters registered.

In other business, the commissioners approved:

r A business incubator consulting agreement between Centre County and the Rural Business Innovation Corporation (RBI). The agreement will allow RBI to provide consulting services and temporary operational support and implementation of the Bellefonte Business Incubator. There will be a cap of $8,000 in place for Sept. 1, 2016 through Dec. 31, 2016, with time (including travel time) billed at $45 per hour and a travel expense of 70 cents per mile for on-site visits.

r A grant between the county and Tuscarora Intermediate Unit #11 (TIU) for early intervention programs. The grant would allow TIU, through the Department of Human Services’ Office of Child Development and Early Learning, to give grant funds to approved grantees for training and technical assistance purposes. The grant amount will not exceed $20,000 and will have 100 percent state funding for July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017.

r A contract between the county and Eagle Ridge Personal Care Home, LLC, which will provide mental health supported living services. The total of the contract is $25,000, which includes $23,830 state funding and $1,170 county funding. The contract period runs from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017.

r A contract renewal between the county and Dr. Muhammad Qamar. The contract will provide for mental health outpatient services, such as psychiatric evaluations and medication reviews. Total contract comes to $10,000, which includes $9,532 state funding and $468 county funding, from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017.