Bellefonte confident grant money will help waterfront project

The Bellefonte Industrial Development Authority continues to pursue various grant opportunities as it moves closer to submitting the final flood wall proposal for its waterfront redevelopment project.

Assistant Borough Manager Don Holderman said he submitted a grant application to the state that would provide up to $88,000 to move the red freight building off the site to Talleyrand Park. That measure would help with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commissions review of the project because it would move the historical building, mitigating the loss of historical structures.

But Holderman is not sure if that application will be approved.

“We’re hopeful that we’ll get it,” he said. “Whether or not it’s optimistic, I can’t say at this point.”

Another state grant application looks more promising.

Holderman said the application to fund up to 75 percent of the site analysis for both geological and historical perspectives looks like it’s coming through. He is hoping to have those funds in hand in the next few weeks to get started on the work.

The total cost of the work to clear the land would be about $118,000 as part of the process to submit the flood wall application to the state Department of Environmental Protection. The borough hopes to package the three plots of land along Spring Creek to a developer who would create a multibuilding complex, including a hotel, apartments and retail space. But because the land is in the flood plain, it must first construct the estimated $6 million wall.

The IDA also passed a motion to spend $2,775 to submit plans for an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan and a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System to control the water pollution.

Holderman expects a larger flood wall design update from engineer Scott Russell and Buchart Horn at the May 14 meeting.

After a recommendation from the borough, the IDA also passed a motion releasing developer Ara Kervandjian from his $250,000 demolition bond for the Garman Theatre property. The demolition is complete, but he did not complete a requirement to place topsoil and plant grass on the property.

Borough Manager Ralph Stewart said that with the proposed Centre County government work on the Hotel Do De site, the geography of the Garman site and the possibility that Kervandjian’s project will soon get its tax credits, it might not be the best time to put the grass down.

As part of the motion, Kervandjian will put up money in advance to plant the grass if his project falls through in the coming months.