County to accept $800k to repurpose underutilized space

The Lycoming County commissioners will take action Thursday to accept an $800,000 revolving loan fund grant to help clean up and make useable abandoned or otherwise underutilized buildings and properties, known as brownfields.

The grant, from the federal Environmental Protection Agency, will work as a revolving loan, meaning qualified applicants will be awarded a certain dollar amount to be paid back to the county with low interest rates.

“Every dollar we give out, we could get back,” said Jenny Picciano, community development and lead planner.

Some of the funds also may be used in the form of grants, Picciano added.

The planning department and commissioners will work together to form a committee including real estate and financial aid-savvy community members to help select qualified property owners to receive funds.

The contract period for the grant lasts through November of 2023, she said.

Examples of brownfield locations that have been restored through this initiative include the Brodart neighborhood, the Pajama Factory and even the Kohl’s department store.

In another matter, the commissioners will consider several personnel actions, including hiring Chelsea Myers, currently Williamsport’s municipal planner, as a full-time replacement hazard reduction planner.

Myers previously was approved to start Oct. 1 as the county’s replacement zoning officer. However, due to a new vacancy and Myers’ overqualified status, she instead is being considered for the hazard reduction planner position, said Commissioner Rick Mirabito.

The city has no plan to replace Myers at this point, officials said.

In addition to Mirabito, Commissioners Jack McKernan and Tony Mussare were present. The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday in Executive Plaza.

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