County help sought in securing $2M grant

The Meadville Tribune
By Keith Gushard
Thursday, October 18, 2012

Conneaut Lake Borough Council is asking for the county’s backing on a $2 million state grant proposal to revitalize the borough.

The borough is seeking the money from the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, said Bill Eldridge, a member of Conneaut Lake Borough Council and Conneaut Lake Community Development Committee.  Eldridge outlined the request to county commissioners at their weekly work session Wednesday.  If the grant is approved by the state, Conneaut Lake would expect funding to be announced in the spring of 2013, Eldridge told the Tribune.

Proposed improvements along Water Street, Conneaut Lake’s main thoroughfare, would include putting overhead utility lines underground; new curbing, sidewalks and crosswalks; adding decorative street lights and signal poles; and new landscaping.

An overhaul of Fireman’s Beach also is proposed.  Work there would include new docks; a waterfront walkway and sidewalk; a paved parking lot; and a new playground and a new boat launch with separation between the two areas for added safety.

Borough Council and the Conneaut Lake Community Development Committee are asking the county to submit the grant on behalf of Conneaut Lake, Eldridge said.

He noted that the costs of private building projects in the borough’s business district within the past few years –a Rite Aid drug store building and a Sheetz convenience store—may be used toward the grant’s matching funds requirement.

“This will leverage more private sector money and improve traffic flow,” said Eldridge.  That would help the Conneaut Lake area improve its economy, he said.

There is some evidence of more private sector investment in the borough because of the proposed project as the former Foulk’s Bakery building at Water and first streets is undergoing renovation, Eldridge said.

If successful, what Conneaut Lake is doing may be used as a model for economic development in other communities around Crawford County, Eldridge said.

As part of the grant submission, Conneaut Lake Borough and Crawford County would sign a cooperation agreement with the borough preparing the grant application and other necessary documentation while the county would administer the grant and assist with an audit of it.

County commissioners are expected to act on the grant request and cooperation agreement at their meeting today.