Groundbreaking kicks off Bellefonte Waterfront Project
By LAKESHIA KNARR
BELLEFONTE – The first shovels of dirt have been lifted.
And the future is bright.
The Bellefonte Area Industrial Development Authority in cooperation with Bellefonte Borough held a groundbreaking ceremony to kick off construction of the Bellefonte Waterfront Project along High and Dunlap streets.
The Waterfront Project will create a floodwall and walkway along Spring Creek.
Bellefonte Borough Council President Frank Halderman, who is also Bellefonte Area Industrial Development Authority vice chair, spoke to the crowd at Friday’s ceremony.
About five years ago, borough council was presented with a decision to fund the Land Use Planning Technical Assistance Project grant application, Halderman explained.
“We received this Department of Community and Economic Development grant with the help of both Sen. (Jake) Corman and Rep. (Kerry) Benninghoff. At the time, we were led to believe a third party was going to cover the $60,000-matching portion of the grant. When that fell through, borough council stepped up and said this was an important project worth funding,” he continued.
Funding from that grant led to the development of a Steering Committee comprised of business owners, local residents, and elected officials, to work with and steer the project for the contractor, Delta Development, Halderman said.
“This study led to a final report that, in part, has provided us a roadmap of what we needed to accomplish. Today’s groundbreaking is the first step in helping us achieve the first phase of this re-development,” he explained. “Our ultimate goal was and is having this property developed, put back on the borough’s tax rolls and to have this property be a viable economic asset, complementing our downtown business area. As these gentleman and I are about to put our shovels in the dirt this morning, I can say I am proud to be a part of this project and also proud that it has been done in a way that has had an enormous amount of community involvement.”
Halderman thanked the state representatives, borough council, the development authority members, partners in the project, and everyone who attended the event.
“I also look forward to working with a developer on the next phase of this project where we will again have a hotel and other development on this site. This, along with the Bellefonte Mews and the Cadillac Building renovation, is a starting point in the future of a vibrant Bellefonte,” he said.