Gift from Channellock means smoother sailing for Streetscape

The Meadville Tribune
By Jean Shanley
Saturday, January 14, 2012

CONNEAUT LAKE — A revitalization project for downtown Conneaut Lake took a major step forward this week with a $20,000 donation from Channellock Inc. the Meadville-based international tool company that got its start at Conneaut Lake.

The venture is the Streetscape Project of the Conneaut Lake Community Development Committee working in conjunction with Conneaut Lake Borough Council.  The project’s goal is “to create an attractive downtown that will encourage economic development and improved quality of life for our unique lake community,” its mission statement says.

The check was presented in Memorial Park on Water Street, near the location where the first Channellock factory was located.

Jon DeArment, vice president of manufacturing and engineering at Channellock said, “Channellock and the DeArment family are pleased to be able to assist in this very important project.  Channellock Inc. was founded right here in downtown Conneaut Lake, and the Champion Bolt and Clipper Co., back in 1886 by my great-great-grandfather, George B. DeArment.  When the opportunity to help this project was presented, we all agreed supporting the project was the right thing to do.

“As we have grown over the years, we have never lost sight of the company’s beginning as a small blacksmith shop at Conneaut Lake,” DeArment said.  We are all very proud to support this project and welcome the improvements that will soon come to Conneaut Lake through this revitalization.”

Tim Kaider, mayor of Conneaut Lake said, “Our goal for the creation of an attractive downtown and Fireman’s Beach that will then encourage economic development and improve quality of life for the future of the community just moved closer to reality.”

Ed Yates, chairman of the CLCDC agreed.  “We are grateful to Channellock for it support.  This donation puts us well on our way to achieving our fundraising goal of $150,000 and represents a major step toward the realization of the results we are all looking forward to.”

During a council meeting late that day, John Grossman of E.G. & G., the contract developer hired by borough council to manage and facilitate the project, spoke briefly.  He said there is a four-step process in the program, which began with initial work on engineering, design and the securing of grant monies.  The project is focused on improving sidewalks, roads, infrastructure and landscaping.

Grossman said the project is moving very well and he outlined the steps as developing the plan; securing financial support from the community; getting grants for funding the work; and engineering, drawing and overseeing the construction.

He said one-third of the first step is completed, with the analysis of existing conditions, problems and assets.  A second part of step one is to come up with solutions to recommendations which will take about another month and a half.  It also will include alternative solutions.  Another public meeting will be held at that time, Grossman said.

A representative of E.G. & G. presented a slide show overview of pictures, showing what problems there are—along with possible solutions to create a more attractive and safe area in Conneaut Lake.

“We’re really making progress on all fronts,” Grossman said.

During Wednesday’s council meeting, Yates reported the committee has raised about $62,000 toward its goal.  That does not include an anticipated $25,000 state grant which required $25,000 in matching funds.

The $62,000 raised thus far includes the $20,000 from Channnellock, another $20,000 from an anonymous donor named only as a “Friend of Conneaut Lake” and previous donations from area banks, other businesses and individuals.  Yates said there are still many prospects for potential donors, and the committee is “very optimistic” about its goal–$100,000 to be paid to E.G. & G. and another $50,000 for other expenses in relation to the Fundraising.

Dick Holabaugh, borough council president, commended the work of the CLCDC saying, “I was one of the many doubting Thomases,” adding he was being very cautiously optimistic about the project and the funds needed.

However, he said, “You guys have proven you are able to get the job done.  I feel much more comfortable with the guidance and direction.”  He applauded the committee for its work getting toward the end of the goal.

We’re together, not against each other,” referring to the cooperative effort of the CLCDC and borough council on the project, Yates said.

A copy of the analysis of the project presented at the council meeting will be available for public viewing at the Shontz Public Library on Second Street.

Anyone wishing to donate to the fundraising campaign may contact Yates a 382-0002 or send a tax-deductible donation to Conneaut Lake Borough, Seed Money Fund, PO Box 198, Conneaut Lake, PA 16316.