Memorial Homes may get $200K in gas impact funds

Memorial Homes housing development project will get its second installment in natural gas drilling impact funds if the Lycoming County commissioners approve $200,000 in such funds Thursday.

The funding would go to site improvements, such as new sidewalks, curbs, accessible ramps, street trees, crosswalks, pavement, drainage, lighting and more, said William Kelly, county planning department deputy director.

The project cost is $300,000, and Williamsport has dedicated up to $100,000 in its impact funds for the project.

If approved, that phase should be completed by October 2015.

The funding stems from two years ago when the county pledged $610,000 in impact dollars toward the Williamsport Housing Strategy, which includes the Memorial Homes project, the Brodart Neighborhood Improvement Program and the Grove Street Commons project. Those dollars are given as each phase is reached, such as the $140,000 the county gave for the Brodart site remediation and demolition, Kelly said. The Grove Street Commons project will get the third round of $270,000.

Additionally, the commissioners may agree for the county to pay for a new digital fingerprinting machine for the Williamsport Bureau of Police. The price has yet to be determined. While the county will retain ownership, the city will pay for the machine’s installation and maintenance.

There are three such fingerprinting machines in the county: at the state police barracks in Montoursville, the city police station and at Old Lycoming Township municipal building, where the central processing center operates as a part-time facility, said county District Attorney Eric R. Linhardt.

In other business, while structural completion of the new Loyalsock Creek railroad bridge should be done by summer, the commissioners are expected to sign a five-month grant timeline extension to September to allow time for cleanup and site restoration work.

Under the original $2.4 million grant agreement, the completion date was April 30, but weather and other obstructions have occurred.

The project is “well underway,” Kelly said. The old bridge, destroyed in Tropical Storm Lee, had six spans and five piers and was 8 feet below the stream grade. The new bridge will have three spans and five piers, and will be 100 feet deep, better able to withstand such storms.

The first steel span should be finished later this month, Kelly said, and the first train will cross it in June, as it will be structurally sound by then.

Commissioners likely will enter into contracts with 16 farmers who want to participate in the county’s nutrient trading program.

“The farmers agree to generate nutrient credits by doing agricultural best management practices on the farms. The county will act as credit ‘aggregator’ to market those credits and attempt to sell them on behalf of the farmers,” said Megan Lehman, county environmental planner.

The county first look to sell the credits to local wastewater treatment plants, and the rest at the statewide credit auction. Farmers get 75 percent of the income the credits generate, and the county retains 25 percent to cover staff time and costs, Lehman said.

Finally, commissioners may approve the purchase of two 2014 Ford Explorers for the adult probation office for a total cost of $55,920, under a state Co-Stars contract. They are replacement vehicles, said Luann Yohn, chief adult probation officer.