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Chamber of Commerce to celebrate 80 years

BELLEFONTE — Eighty years of helping the growth of small and big businesses, along with nonprofits, is quite a big benchmark, one that the Bellefonte Intervalley Area Chamber of Commerce (BIACC) is proud to celebrate this month.

At their Tuesday, May 1 meeting, the Centre County Board of Commissioners recognized this achievement with a special proclamation, proclaiming the week of May 6 through May 12 as Bellefonte Intervalley Area Chamber of Commerce Week.

The recognition does not stop there, as there will be a ribbon cutting ceremony held on Monday, May 7 to celebrate the anniversary and usher in the next 80 years of BIACC service. The ceremony will take place at BIACC’s headquarters, the Bellefonte Train Station, at 11 a.m. Attendees are asked to RSVP to Gary Hoover, executive director of the BIACC, at biacc@bellefontechamber.org by close of business on Wednesday, May 7. Light refreshments will be served after the ribbon cutting.

“One of the things that I take great pride in is we have people visit us in the train station from all over the world,” Hoover said. “Virtually everybody comes in and says, ‘Wow, what a place Bellefonte is. What a wonderful place Centre County is. We’re only in town for day, but boy, we’re going to make an effort to come back here.”

Hoover, who was born in Williamsport and later decided to move to Bellefonte, said he would not choose to live anywhere else.

According to Hoover, the BIACC was incorporated in May 1938, when it was known simply as the Bellefonte Chamber of Commerce. It has since grown to include businesses located outside of Bellefonte.

Hoover said the BIACC’s main areas of focus are promoting the area and providing services to its member businesses and organizations. Everything the chamber of commerce does is funded through member dues and a few annual fundraisers, such as a croquet tournament and a circus.

Membership in the chamber of commerce continues to grow, said Tami Schuster, president of BIACC’s board of directors.

“It’s fun to be here, right here on the cusp of so many exciting new businesses coming in,” Schuster said.

Over approximately the past two years, 21 new businesses have opened in Bellefonte, said Commissioner Mark Higgins.

An old business but one under new ownership, A Flower Basket, would be the 22nd one, he added. The flower and gift shop located at 633 E. Howard St. held its grand opening on April 14. Businesses are starting to expand as well, with Dam Donuts, located at 216 W. High St., holding a grand opening for its Harrisburg location at 2250 Linglestown Road on April 28.

“Bellefonte’s a wonderful place and the Chamber is a big part of that,” Higgins said.

Commissioner Steve Dershem, who is a Bellefonte resident himself, said, “It’s just great to see the vibrancy and the excitement in town again.”

In other business, the commissioners approved:

r The land development plan for expansion of the Centre Crest parking lot. The plan calls for development of 70 additional parking spaces, lighting and stormwater management facilities.

r A memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Centre Region Council of Governments to dispatch protocol for HAZMAT response teams in the region. The MOU is for May 1, 2018 through July 31, 2019.

r A contract renewal with Info Quick Solutions, Inc. to digitize microfilm for archived case information for both the Pennsylvania State Police Instant Check System Firearm Law and for eligibility determination for intellectual disability services. The contract total is $5,000, with $4,770 funded by the state and $230 by the county. The contract runs from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018.

r An addendum to a contract to allow Strawberry Fields, Inc. to have an additional $20,200 in funds that will provide for peer support services and targeted case management. This increases the contract maximum from $1,129,201 to approximately $1,149,401. The contract is funded through $1,096,414 from the state and $52,987 from the county. The contract period is July 1,2017 through June 30, 2018.

r A transfer of $20,000 in 2018 liquid fuels funding from the College Township Park Avenue signal project to the township’s West College Avenue/Elmwood Street intersection project.

r A sub-grantee agreement with Potter Township for 2015 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) entitlement funds that total $115,600. The CDBG funds will be used to construct a wastewater treatment system in Potters Mills. The agreement runs from Sept. 15, 2017 through June 30, 2019.

r A sub-grantee agreement with Potter Township for 2016 CDBG competitive funds that total $884,400. These funds will also be used toward the Potters Mills wastewater treatment system. The agreement runs from April 2, 2018 through Nov. 6, 2020.

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