Parking authority joins memorandum

The Williamsport Parking Authority agreed Wednesday to be a part of a proposed memorandum of understanding regarding Destination 2014 Town Center.

The project is an economic development project in the central business district.

A company owned by Daniel A. Klingerman, president and CEO of The Liberty Group, in Loyalsock Township, has purchased the YMCA on Elmira Street.

He intends to create an indoor civic arena, athletic training complex and renovate portions of the building into commercial offices and perhaps apartments.

Klingerman’s company also intends to build a town green at the corner of West Fourth and Hepburn streets.

Agreeing to the framework in the memorandum was one thing, but committing any money toward the project was a different ballgame for the authority.

“We’re a $1 million business,” said Dr. Anthony Cipolla, chairman of the parking authority. “We’re being asked to give $500,000,” he said, adding the authority has not yet completed its preventive maintenance on the Third Street parking garage and has begun to improve infrastructure at its surface lots around the city.

Cipolla said before further commitment, the authority would want to engage in a discussion with the city regarding revenue sharing, whether it is through equipment or by other means.

City Council gave the city administration permission to pursue submitting an application for a $3 million state Redevelopment Capital Assistance grant to the Office of Budget. Council tabled the decision on the memorandum while it also reviews the financial outlay.

The city’s River Valley Transit has been asked to contribute $1.5 million toward the developer cost. Not part of the memorandum is a possible commitment by the Lycoming County Visitors’ Bureau of $500,000 to assist the developer.

Cipolla said part of the $3 million grant the city has been notified it can receive is likely to go to the authority to offset the investment.

The state grant application is due sometime in June, Cipolla said.

A city consultant who is working to get the parties to agree to the dialogue is getting anxious.

“Every day we don’t have an idea of what the project will be is a day lost,” said Jason Fitzgerald, senior vice president with Penn Strategies of Harrisburg, who attended the meeting to explain how the non-binding agreement was not a financial commitment.

Council is expected to continue to review the memorandum of understanding at its next meeting.