Memorial Homes gets $200K from

Memorial Homes housing development project got a boost when Lycoming County commissioners approved $200,000 in natural gas drilling impact funds Thursday.

The second installment of such funds will go to site improvements along Memorial Avenue, Scott and Oliver streets. The improvements include new sidewalks, curbs, accessible ramps, street trees, crosswalks, pavement, drainage, lighting and more, said William Kelly, county planning department deputy director.

Kelly noted two homes on Memorial Avenue were lost this week to fire, so this project contributes in multiple ways to the area.

“This is a taxable entity.” Kelly said. “This project is bringing housing back into the city.”

The $300,000 project should be completed by October 2015.

In other business, commissioners agreed for the county to purchase a new digital fingerprinting machine to replace the outdated one at the Williamsport Bureau of Police, at a yet-undetermined cost. Williamsport will pay for the machine’s installation and maintenance, and the county will retain ownership. It will be one of three fingerprinting machines in the county.

Commissioners approved a five-month grant extension of the $2.4 million grant agreement with the Federal Rail Administration for the completion of the new Loyalsock Creek railroad bridge, allowing time for cleanup and site-restoration work. The bridge should be structurally completed by late June, when the first train will cross it, Kelly said.

The bridge was destroyed by Tropical Storm Lee, and the new one will be built more than 100 feet deeper and with fewer spans and piers, allowing more water to flow through without as much obstruction, Kelly said.

Commissioners awarded a contract to HRI Inc., based in Williamsport, not to exceed $188,216 to repair the county-owned Marsh Hill bridge on Pleasant Stream Road, McIntyre Township. It was the low bid, said county Transportation Planner Mark Murawski.

Work will begin immediately, replacing 16 structurally deficient beams with 12 new ones, cutting out old stringers and re-enforcing cover plates. Work is expected to be done in April, and will eliminate the weight restriction so it can carry a 40-ton load, Murawski said.

Project cost is $223,000, and involves no county funds as state funding covers it.

Commissioner Jeff Wheeland called it necessary repair a “band-aid” in the big picture. Murawski said the long-term goal is to replace the bridge, which would cost about $1.5 million, and additional funding is needed.

Commissioners approved nutrient trading contracts with 16 farmers, as the participants have worked to reduce nutrients going into the Chesapeake Bay. Farmers get 75 percent of the income the credits generate, and the county retains 25 percent to cover staff time and costs, said Megan Lehman, county environmental planner.

Finally, the adult probation office will get two 2014 Ford Explorers at a total cost of $55,920, under a state Co-Stars contract. These are replacement vehicles that will be used to transport those on warrants in other counties, said Luann Yohn, chief adult probation officer.