County moves on business park funding

BROOKVILLE — Tuesday, the Jefferson County Commissioners moved to submit an application for more than $1.5 million in federal funding.

The application was submitted to the U.S. Depart-ment of Commerce, and if received, the money would be used for site development at a proposed business park near the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

Kristin Hullihen, of the Jefferson County Depart-ment of Devel-opment, said this is the second application submitted to the Depart-ment of Comm-erce. The first application was denied, but Hullihen said that is not uncommon.

“In speaking with others, I don’t know of any application that was granted after the first application,” she said. “They returned the application with a letter with bullet points outlining the things that need addressed. It looks like a much stronger application now.”

The funding is needed to provide the majority of the $2 million needed to match state funds. The state redevelopment authority has already rewarded the project $2 million, but with the contingency that $2 million in non-state funds is available.

The site’s owner, Nine Star Development, has agreed to provided $240,000 in funding, and another $250,000 is expected from the Appalachia Redevelopment Council.

Hullihen said no official date has been given as a deadline to secure the matching funds, but through conversations, she believes there is a two-year window.

Considering the Department of Commerce allows funding applications to be submitted quarterly, that should give the county offices ample time to obtain the grant funding.

The planned business park is more than 120 acres near Exit 81 on I-80. The site’s owner, Paula Foradora, general manager of Nine Star Development, has said she wants to see jobs brought to the area. However, she said the development firm would need government financial assistance to build roads and prepare the property.

Foradora’s engineering consultant, Christopher Nasuti, said in December that site development would cost about $3.7 million. The county Department of Development currently has leads on roughly $4 million.

In other business:

• Jefferson County Election Board member Karen Lupone reported that the deadline for petition filing has passed. All petitions for entry onto a local-government ballot were due at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Lupone said the county received many petitions for offices such as county commission, district judge and borough councils.

Candidates wishing to draw lots for placement on the ballot can attend a lot-drawing meeting Friday at noon.

The meeting will be held in the large conference room at Jefferson Place.

• The commissioners appointed Larry Conrad, president of Brookville Equipment, to the North Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning & Development Commission’s Executive Board.

• The commissioners approved a $2,000 marketing grant for the Jefferson County Fair Authority from the Jefferson County Hotel Tax Committee.