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Commissioners support learning sites for children

Lycoming County commissioners passed a resolution Thursday throwing their support behind a local effort to ensure children facing hybrid learning situations have places to go during the days when they are not in school.

The hope, they said, is to eventually put some financial muscle behind that resolution.

For now, a number of churches and other organizations are opening up their doors to elementary school age children in Williamsport to kick off the program.

Commissioner Rick Mirabito said the children will receive learning at the sites in supervised conditions during those days they don’t attend school.

The program, to begin next week, is a collaboration of Williamsport Area School District, Firetree Place and Camp Susque. Initially, students who attend Cochran, Stevens and Hepburn-Lycoming Elementary Schools will be able to take part in the program.

Camp Susque Marketing Director Jamie Sanders said at least 25 students will be able to report to a site.

“The goal is to serve lunches at all the sites,” he said.

Commissioners said the program will provide a place for working parents to send their kids during days they aren’t in school.

“It’s a countywide issue we need to solve,” Mirabito said.

The hope, commissioners said, is to tap a portion of the county’s share of its $10.2 million COVID-19 funding allocation to reimburse costs for the program.

In other matters, commissioners approved a Keystone Opportunity Zone extension for Timber Run Industrial Park in Brady Township.

The 50-acre parcel is being eyed by the county for economic development, according to commissioners.

A business locating its operations at a KOZ site is forgiven payment of taxes over a period of time.

Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce President Jason Fink told commissioners he isn’t completely comfortable with KOZ sites, but conceded they are often necessary tools counties can use to remain competitive for boosting economic development.

Also at the meeting, commissioners approved an agreement with Emergent Broadcasting Co, LLC to provide closed captioning services for Channel 75.

It was noted that the captioning for livestream broadcasts will further enhance public access for participation in county government.

The next commissioners’ meeting is set for 10 a.m. Tuesday at Executive Plaza, 330 Pine St., Williamsport.

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