$3M in state, federal grants sought for Conneaut Lake Revitalization effort

The Meadville Tribune
By Jean Shanley
Tuesday, October 16, 2012

CONNEAUT LAKE —Applications for two government grants to assist Conneaut Lake Community Development Committee were discussed at the recent meeting of Conneaut Lake Borough Council.  Together, they could bring $3 million to the community’s revitalization effort that began recently.

Bill Eldridge, a member of council and also of the CLCDC, presented the proposals for applications, which received unanimous approval from council.

The first was a resolution to apply for a $1 million matching grant from the State Department of Community and Economic Development.

Eldridge said the consultants from E.G.&G., the company hired to develop plans and to apply for grants, have met with state Rep. John Evans and also with the state secretary of tourism, who were both very positive about the application being submitted.  Eldridge said he did not believe it would be impossible to raise the $1 million matching funds because of other grants and private donations which are being sought.

Funds from that grant would be used to promote and assist the downtown revitalization program.

The second application would be for a $2 million grant from a federal program.  Crawford County commissioners would have to apply for it on behalf of the Conneaut Lake groups.

Eldridge said he has discussed the project with county officials, who said they believe it would be appropriate to apply.  Eldridge will represent the CLCDC in presenting the proposal to county commissioners.

The grant would include a comprehensive agreement between council and CLCDC to work with the county to receive and manage the funds.  He said E.G. & G. has a good track record in receiving grants for various municipalities.  He said Crawford County Commissioner Jack Lynch is spearheading the county’s participation and is enthusiastic because he can see the economic advantage for the county, not just Conneaut Lake.

Eldridge said Lynch believes the project could show other communities in the county how community revitalization projects are done and could be used as a model project.

Eldridge pointed out that Conneaut Lake Borough council would have final decisions in the project.

Dick Holabaugh, president of council, asked if either grant could be used for upgrading of the storm sewer system.  Eldridge said E.G.&G. is actively working on other grants for that project.

Ed Yates, president of CLCDC, was in the audience and commended Eldridge for the many, many hours of work he has done to prepare all the necessary data, including a large amount of statistics, and working with E.G.&G. to see that all the information is available in a timely manner.

It also was emphasized at the meeting that if there are any questions about the project, they would be addressed now – not at the last minute or during any stage of the process.

Approval of the grants would mean funds would be available for the project in 2014.

The grants are the latest proposals in the ongoing work being done by CLCDC and E.G.&G. with council on improving downtown Conneaut Lake and Fireman’s Beach.