Bellefonte waterfront project complete, ready to open

There’s something brewing near Bellefonte’s waterfront, and it has nothing to do with the Gamble Mill.

Or maybe it does.

There’s a revitalization of sorts near Lamb and Water streets, even if there is hardly any activity in the area. The borough’s waterfront project was completed in July, the sale for the mill could be closed in August and Cafe on the Park is also under new ownership.

The area may not be booming with activity just yet, but that’s only because all of the bustle is happening behind the scenes.

The borough’s part was to reinvent the waterfront, but the project has seemingly caused a ripple effect in the area.

There’s no doubt the waterfront project has created interest in other business entities here, but I think it’s two way street,” Bellefonte assistant manager Don Holderman said. “The redevelopment of the plot of land has enhanced the Gamble Mill and Cafe on the Park and a lot of other areas downtown. But those businesses getting new life and other interest in the area is really good for interest in developing the waterfront, too.”

Holderman said the physical part of the project is complete, but that it likely won’t be sold until 2017. Paperwork needs to be completed for a state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant, which will reimburse the borough for half of the approximately $5.5 million project.

It is anticipated that the borough’s Industrial Development Authority would sell the property to a private developer to cover the project’s cost.

The borough and state representatives such as Sen. Jake Corman, R-Benner Township, Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, R-Bellefonte, IDA chairman Matt Hill, council chairman Gay Dunne and Mayor Tom Wilson will host a ceremony to open the waterfront at 8 p.m. Friday.

Though the borough is in discussions with potential developers, there are no deals in place.

The waterfront could be developed into a mixed-use area, which could include a hotel, housing, restaurants, retail stores and offices.

Shawn Annarelli: 814-235-3928, @Shawn_Annarelli