Water task force public meeting set Thursday in Mansfield

MANSFIELD -The Mansfield Regional Valley Group will hold a public informational meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at the fire hall here to present plans to improve water access for the Business Route 15 corridor region.

The presentation of the final draft of a report created by Rettew senior community planning specialist Frank Chlebnikow will be presented and a question and answer period will be held following the presentation. An open house will preceed the presentation at 6:30 p.m., during which the public can view stations set up around the hall displaying maps and other information about the region’s current and future population projections and water needs.

The Mansfield Regional Valley Group was formed to openly discuss methods to expand access to public water, develop strategies to remain economically prosperous, and protect the public health, safety, and welfare of the region’s residents and has been meeting monthly since December of last year.

Representatives on the committee are from Blossburg Borough, Covington Township, Mansfield Borough, Putnam Township, Richmond Township, Mansfield University and the Betterment Organization of Mansfield.

The formation of the committee was spurred on in part by the Marcellus Shale natural gas boom, which has opened opportunities for residential and non-residential growth, however, a limiting factor for continued prosperity in the region is access to public water from the Mansfield Borough water system, which currently serves Mansfield Borough and the Canoe Camp area of Richmond Township which is owned and operated by the Mansfield Municipal Authority.

The system reached capacity last summer and the authority has not and is not issuing new connection permits.

Blossburg Borough’s water system terminates at the northern boundary of the borough and is about 5 miles from the terminus of the Mansfield Municipal Authority system.

According to the updated plan, anticipated eventual outcomes include:

Continued residential and non-residential growth in the region, which is supported by Mansfield Borough, Richmond and Covington Townships Multi-Municipal Comprehensive Plan and the Tioga County Comprehensive Plan.

Continued cooperation among Blossburg Borough, Covington Township, Mansfield Borough, Putnam Township, Richmond Township, Betterment Organization of Mansfield and Mansfield University in advancing the strategies of the report.

Capitalize on the Marcellus Shale activity, including access to office space, lay down yards, support services and housing.

Increase family sustaining jobs within and outside of the natural gas industry.

Expand shopping, eatery, and leisure opportunities in the region which will have a direct impact on recruitment and retention of students at Mansfield University, and major employers.

Access to housing for all income levels.

Increase the non-residential tax base, which will lessen the tax obligation of the residential property owners.