PUNXSUTAWNEY — Does Punxsutawney have the land space to construct a second industrial park?
Last Monday, Punxsutawney Borough Council President Susan Glessner said the borough hopes to once again partner with the Punxsutawney Regional Development Corporation (PRDC) in the interest of industrial development.
Glessner recently spoke with PRDC President Frank Roberts, who said the group wants everyone to know that it has money available for industrial development. However, there are limits to $50,000, in addition to the borough’s economic development loan fund.
Currently through the fund, the borough has nearly $1 million in outstanding loans to various industries in Punxsutawney.
Roberts requested a meeting with council to map out what direction it would like to go, Glessner said.
Roger Steele, a member of council and the PRDC, said it would like to use PRDC money that has already been turned over once, which would permit it to expand its parameters.
The PRDC would like to construct a basic building, or a shell, and wait to prepare a final design until it has a tenant, Steele said. Also, the PRDC has had a lot of experience with industrial development, as the group, along with the borough, constructed a successful industrial park along Martha Street and Universal Drive in Punxsy and Young Township.
“Right now, we have nothing to offer,” Steele said. “I saw on a local newscast that the oil and gas industry are in search of pre-constructed incubated buildings. If they find a pre-constructed building that meets their needs, they have money in hand waiting to purchase or lease it.”
Glessner added that the borough is land-locked, which makes it difficult to construct another industrial park or an incubated building.
Steele said ideally, the building should be 25,000 to 40,000 square feet, which could meet the needs of many prospective tenants.
Glessner also reported on the status on some projects that council has planned for this year:
• ATA building — She said the construction of the ATA terminal is not the borough’s project, but the borough did partner with ATA to demolish the buildings formerly located along North Findley Street.
Glessner said ATA solicited bids for the proposed terminal building a few months ago, and the bids came in extremely high.
ATA is separating the bids, and should be going out within a few weeks.
“We still think this is an important project and it will make a big difference in our downtown,” Glessner said.
• Infrastructure — Council is continuing with the infrastructure improvements, Glessner said, which includes sidewalks and the sanitary and storm sewer line separation, such as the West End storm sewer project located near the Punxy Plaza.
• Harmon Field — Council has also planned this year for the possible construction of a walk track around Harmon Field, and the erection of portable bleachers at the park, which is utilized by the Punxsutawney Area Community Center for intramural sports.
Glessner said that council wants to use CDBG money for the project, but since the bleachers are not permanent, that’s not permitted.
• Council approved several resolutions dealing with the borough’s CDBG entitlement funds from the federal government.
Council approved three funding modifications from the 2007, 2008 and 2009 CDBG funds totaling $88,897 to be used for the community center’s roof replacement.
On average, Punxsutawney receives $123,000 in CDBG funding as an entitlement community, due to its population.