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The Progress Home >> Thursday, August 29, 2013 - Development Corp. updated on Curwensville tannery site

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Development Corp. updated on Curwensville tannery site
Thursday, August 29, 2013
By Dianne Byers Staff Writer
CURWENSVILLE - At yesterday's meeting, Curwensville Development Corp. members heard an update on the progress of the remediation of the former Howe's Leather tannery site.
Rob Swales, chief executive officer for Clearfield County Economic Development Corp, presented a slideshow for the property which helped convince voters at the Pennsylvania Brownfield's conference last year to award grant funds for the project - one of three in the running. The presentation stressed the need to clean up the 26.5-acre site located on Cooper Road at the Curwensville Industrial Park. Restoration of the land used by the former tannery would improve the health and safety of Curwensville residents Swales said.
He also noted the project would allow the land to be sold and become usable again.
The site was the recipient of a $1 million grant with a 25 percent match. The funds will be used to purchase the property, demolish foundations and remaining structures and clean up the site. Swales said yesterday, CCEDC is working with the state Department of Environmental Protection on an environmental plan to clean up the site and bid specifications for the work are complete and ready to be advertised as soon as DEP gives its go ahead.
He said he hopes a request for proposals can be advertised in the fall with work to begin as soon as the bids have been awarded.
Swales said the site has a number of advantages. It would allow additional land to become available in Curwensville's industrial park. It also has a close proximity to major travel routes including Interstate 80 and U.S. Routes 322 and 219, has railroad access and water exposure from the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.
Jeff Gates, CDC president, said once the property remediation is complete the land will be able to be utilized as connections for electricity, water and wastewater infrastructure are already in place. He said to Swales, "Thank you. This project will allow industry to come in and be added to Curwensville's tax base...This has needed to be done for a long time. It's a shot in the arm to Curwensville. You're making an eyesore into an asset."
Members also approved an agreement with CCEDC to administer its revolving loan program. Laurance Seaman, CDC's solicitor has reviewed and approved the document, Gates said yesterday.
At its June 26 meeting, CDC approved placing $50,000 into the loan program. Owners of industrial, retail and commercial developments could apply for and receive 80 percent of the cost of their project or a maximum of $10,000 or use the funds in addition to other financial sources to help with the cost to acquire land or buildings, purchase machinery or equipment or improve or rehabilitate structures or property.
Owners would have five-to-15-years to pay down the loan depending on its purpose. The loan's interest rate would also be competitive with other market rates.
An update on the supplemental financing program was given by Paul McCloskey, CCEDC's vice president of energy who explained details of the program that is open to businesses in Curwensville and Grampian boroughs and Pike and Penn townships. CCEDC will accept the applications, process information, offer recommendations on the feasibility of the loan and assume the underwriting, billing and collection of loan payments. For its services, the agency would receive a $100 fee to be paid by the business submitting the loan application.
CDC's next meeting is Oct. 23 at 9:30 a.m. at Northwest Savings Bank's conference room, Curwensville.
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