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Centre projects hopeful to receive state assistance

BELLEFONTE — At least six Centre County redevelopment projects, from economic development projects to new facilities that will benefit the local community, are hoping to be included in the state capital budget this year.

A new round of funding through a commonwealth grant program called the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) has opened up for municipalities and interested projects to receive funding for local redevelopment-related projects, and six new requests for itemization in the state capital budget have been submitted recently, according to Sue Hannegan, assistant director for the Centre County Planning and Community Development Office.

“These funds are primarily used for projects that generate increased employment opportunities or retain employment in the county,” Hannegan said. “The third aspect of that is that they generate tax revenue.”

Hannegan explained at the Tuesday meeting of the Centre County Board of Commissioners that the opportunity to apply for these funds is only opened at the request of the governor and grant funds will not flow unless a project is included in the state budget. If a project is included in the state budget, the interested municipality or entity must make an application for release of the RACP funds.

Currently, there are a few projects already on the itemization list that are open for interested municipalities and entities to submit applications for, and Gov. Tom Wolf has also opened a round for submittal of requests for release of funds, Hannegan said. The current round is open until March 3.

The last time municipalities and interested projects had the opportunity for itemization for the RACP funds was four years ago, according to Hannegan. Some successful projects that had used program funds in the past include the Bellefonte Waterfront and Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology’s transportation training center.

At the meeting, Hannegan presented the projects that recently submitted requests to be included in the state budget: a health sciences building for CPI, a county economic development project, expansion of the Centre County Grange Park Equine Center, a Centre County Skilled Nursing Facility on behalf of Centre Care, Inc., an economic development project for Moshannon Valley, and an aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) facility at University Park Airport. Examples of uses for the county and Moshannon Valley economic development projects include assistance with entrepreneurship and expansion of a current employer, explained Commissioner Mark Higgins.

“I’m glad to see the planning department working on this type of thing so we can help create more jobs in Centre County,” Higgins said.

For the CPI health sciences building project, funding, if granted, would be used to construct the building and on-site training facility and would also help with infrastructure, site preparation, and additional costs for the building. According to CPI’s request, the total project cost is approximately $16,000,000, and state share request is $8,000,000.

To assist with the Centre County economic development project, $10,000,000 is expected to cover the total project costs, with a $5,000,000 state share. The project would support private business, industry growth and expansion to assist with not only job growth but also economic diversification, according to the budget request.

For expansion of the Grange Park Equine Center, the project would cost approximately $8,000,000, and it would have a $4,000,000 state share. According to the request made by Potter Township, the funds would be used to expand exhibit arenas, barns and other facilities and infrastructure, which includes a cover over the open horse ring.

In order to build a county skilled nursing facility, Centre Care, Inc. expects the project to cost approximately $35,000,000, and the state share would be $10,000,000. The funding would take care of land acquisition, infrastructure, construction, and additional costs for the new 240-room nursing facility, which will replace the existing facility that has been open since 1939, according to Centre Care, Inc.’s request.

A total of $10,000,000 is expected to cover the costs involved with Moshannon Valley’s economic development project, which is requesting a $5,000,000 state share, according to the budget request. The Moshannon Valley, Centre Region and Upper Bald Eagle Valley economic development project will help support the private business, industry growth and expansion in the area.

The sixth new project that is hoping to receive state assistance, the ARFF facility, will cost approximately $12,0000,000 and state share would be $6,000,000, according to Benner Township’s request. The state funds would be used to construct the new facility. The project’s goal is to support growth and expansion at what is considered to be the sixth busiest airport in the state.

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