Centre approves support for Aaronsburg water project

BELLEFONTE — Centre County is attempting to assist the village of Aaronsburg in replacing its century old water system.

The Centre County Board of Commissioners approved a letter of support for the project, presented at Tuesday’s regular meeting.

The Haines-Aaronsburg Municipal Authority (HAMA) is requesting, through cooperation with Centre County Government and with assistance through the SEDA Council of Governments, over $10 million in CDBG-CV funding.

The board heard from Planning and Community Development Director Ray Stolinas about the potential project.

Stolinas said the Commonwealth has roughly $54 million in remaining CARES Act funding to use. With the county’s assistance, Aaronsburg is requesting over $10 million in CDBG-CV funding.

“Total grants amount to $10,909,500… this will provide 281 service connections for Aaronsburg,” Stolinas said. “The amount of distribution main is 989,920 linear feet of 8-inch line. To service the households, there’s about 10,630 linear feet of 3/4-inch water service.”

Other parts of the project includes connecting the village’s water treatment facility along with valves, blow off assemblies and required leak detection.

Additional sponsored CDBG (Competitive) funds have been approved in the amount of $1,148,650 for replacing the finished water transmission main from the water treatment plant to the new distribution system, Stolinas said.

Stolinas explained Aaronsburg is plagued with a large swath of problems — from vintage 1909 lead pipelines, rusted out lines, leaks from plastic mains, broken valves and deteriorating fire hydrants.

Stolinas said the board has recognized the need for these upgrades in years past.

“There are two consecutive CDBG allocations ($80,000 in 2020 and $128,500 in 2021) over $200,000 to Haines-Aaronsburg,” he said.

Board Chair Michael Pipe commented on how large this project is.

“Essentially, if this was funded it would bring their water system up to date completely, not new, but within the last decade,” Pipe said.

Stolinas confirmed this. “Of course, and with the last few years of funding through CDBG and with other competitive monies that would complete their system,” he said.

Commissioner Mark Higgins noted that, due to Aaronsburg’s location, the project would fund portions of each section of the state.

“Aaronsburg is a very pretty and interesting village here in Centre County. The eastern side of town is in roughly the center of Pennsylvania,” he said. “So we’re going to help people in every corner of Pennyslvania with this project in a way.”

Commissioner Steve Dershem expressed his approval of the project as well.

“This is just one example of how we can help to make our community safer. Because if you don’t have safe water, you don’t have pottable water in your community, that’s a game changer,” he said. “I think everybody appreciated how difficult this is, especially when you have such a small community and a big number.”

Stolinas said the letter of support from the commissioners would help potentially bring this opportunity to life.

“I think that there is opportunity here with the amount of unallocated funds within the CDBG-CV. It is 1/5 of that total, but even if they can receive a portion of that to assist, that would greatly increase their chances of improving the overall system,” he said.

Stolinas noted a second, and final, public hearing regarding the competitive grant will be held virtually at 10 a.m. today.

The Centre County Board of Commissioners will meet again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, July 26, at the Willowbank Building in Bellefonte. The meeting is open to the public and will be televised live by C-NET.


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