South Side senior center, others awarded funding

The Lycoming County commissioners awarded natural gas drilling impact funds to various projects Thursday.

STEP Inc.’s South Williamsport Senior Activity Center received $130,519 to go toward its $670,519 project. Ray Humphries, chairman of STEP’s Aging Advisory Council, said the center will be a true community asset with a variety of programs and its location near a park. Construction will start in the spring and it should be open in the winter.

The commissioners awarded $125,000 for the Watson Township municipal building project. Supervisor Gene Zinck said they’ve been using the White Deer campground building owned by DCNR as their polling place, which may be torn down soon. He said they never dreamed they could afford to build another building, but they are – and above the 100-year floodplain. He expects the $725,000 project will be done in mid-June.

Finally, the commissioners awarded $5,000 each to Muncy Borough, Muncy Township, Hughesville and Montgomery to install two mobile repeater units in police vehicles per municipality to boost the strength of the handheld radios.

John Yingling, county Department of Public Safety director, said the mobile repeaters will use the vehicles’ radios to enhance and amplify hand-held radio communications, which protects the community and each officer further.

The commissioners signed a resolution authorizing county commissioner Jeff Wheeland to sign for the grant from the Bureau of Rail Freight. This allows the $350,000 grant previously awarded to proceed, which will go toward the construction of 2,000 feet of rail to NuWeld Inc. at the Reach Road Industrial Park. Michael Caseman, vice president and CFO of NuWeld, called the project a “great regional asset,” enabling the company to move more freight and create more jobs at NuWeld and regionally.

Vincent Matteo, president and CEO of Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce, said the $514,000 project is important for job retention and creation.

“Infrastructure is something the government should do and needs to do,” Matteo said.

The commissioners also signed a contractual grant agreement to receive a $250,000 grant previously awarded for the testing of about 70 private water wells in eight areas varying by topography and land use in the county, both inside and outside the Marcellus Shale drilling area. The $342,000 project will establish baseline water quality data through the United States Geological Survey.

The YWCA Northcentral PA got a boost from the Verizon Foundation, as Daniel Reavy, on behalf of the foundation, presented a $10,000 check to the Y. The funds will help raise domestic violence awareness in local high schools through “The Yellow Dress” play performance on dating violence.

In other business, Michael Sherman was appointed to the Planning Commission, whose term ends Dec. 31, 2017, and Albert Boyer was appointed to the Zoning Hearing Board, term ending Dec. 31, 2018.