City reassigns grant; intends to seek larger sum

The city administration has reassigned its application for a $500,000 state grant it submitted in May with the state Department of Community and Economic Development for mitigating flooding of Grafius Run.

“We will likely need several million dollars as opposed to that amount,” said Jason Fitzgerald, president of Penn Strategies, one of two city economic consulting firms.

“We have withdrawn that grant application in exchange for going after a more significant pot of money that may be available over the next two years,” he said Tuesday.

The better plan involves collecting damage assessments from residents who have been economically impacted by the flooding and providing that information to the state Department of Environmental Protection, Fitzgerald said.

The department may be able to provide the city with a grant larger than $500,000 next year, Fitzgerald said.

“I need to collect as many stories as possible and make a case,” he said.

The stories may be shared with the City Council public works committee, he said.

The project might include buying out properties, hiring a consultant and creating engineering designs such as rechanneling the water and collecting it in ponds, Fitzgerald said.

State Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Loyalsock Township, has been briefed and may be able to put the cost of the project into the capital projects budget in 2019.

“We have a plan,” Mayor Gabriel J. Campana said, adding that those assisting on the project will include Marc Benner, city engineer; William E. Nichols Jr., city finance director; and Chelsea Myers, city planner.