By Kim Lux
North East Borough will be seeking a $870,736 MultiModal Transportation Grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
An application for the grant was approved during a North East Borough Council meeting on Nov. 4. The grant will be used for a multi-phased road resurfacing and streetscape project throughout the borough.
“The MultiModal transportation program through PennDOT is an underutilized funding source,” Borough Manager Patrick Gehrlein said. “Over the years, they’ve funded projects for pedestrian accessibility, bicycle trails, etc. What we’ve realized through discussions with our PennDOT representatives is that, because it is underutilized, their looking into ADA ramp projects, paving projects and things of that nature as well.”
Gehrlein added that currently, the borough has a multi-year list of streets to be repaved with state liquid fuels money. He said that getting this grant could speed up the process.
“We were encouraged to move forward with a proposal that would put many of our roads in need of repairs — that are on a schedule of roads to repair with liquid fuels funds — into a one-shot deal,” he said. “We were encouraged to apply high in hopes that three or four components can be funded.”
A motion to approve the grant application was made by Council Vice President Denise McCumber and seconded by Councilman Mike Satterthwaite. It passed unanimously. Councilman Jeff Morealli and Councilwoman Debra Wurst were excused from the meeting.
During the meeting, Council members were also informed that the borough will receive about $93,227 in Community Development Block Grant funding for 2019.
“This is the amount we are receiving for fiscal year 2019, and with an additional $17,000 utilized from our 2018 allocation, there will be a total pool of about $110,000 for 2019,” Gehrlein told Council.
A portion of the 2018 CDBG money was used for sidewalk replacement projects on Liberty and Bothel streets.
Gehrlein said the 2019 CDBG money will go toward an owner-occupied, or homeowner, rehabilitation program. He added that residents will be able to apply for money for approved home improvement projects.
Gehrlein also mentioned that North East Borough is an entitlement community within Erie County when it comes to CDBG.
“We are one of three entitlement communities throughout Erie County, meaning that we annually receive a direct allocation of CDBG funds from Erie County without an application process,” he said.
CDBG funding is aimed at addressing housing and community development needs to benefit low-to-moderate income areas.
North East Borough Council will meet again on Monday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m. in Council chambers.