Reynoldsville Community Association plans for the future with PA Downtown Center | Local

REYNOLDSVILLE — The Reynoldsville Community Association recently took a walk down Main Street with members of the PA Downtown Center to get recommendations on improving the borough’s downtown core. ARC also invited members to a recent meeting to plan how to move forward.

PA Downtown Center Director of Strategic Initiatives Bill Fontana attended the RCA meeting last Thursday. Fontana gave recommendations for the association to run more smoothly and discussed future goals and possible funding the group can apply for.

RCA currently has $12,500 in Rural Places Innovation Grants from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“As a result of the walking tour, I believe two projects were proposed for the use of this money,” Fontana said.

The first project is the Blight Mitigation Program, which will give CAR the ability to initiate a conservation effort on degraded properties. Fontana said it will also allow CAR to get a user-friendly map of the central business district to track vacancies or businesses.

“There is a law in Pennsylvania that allows a municipality or non-profit organization to file a motion in a common pleas court…that any property owner who leaves property vacant, unmarketed, unused, deteriorating…to file a request to take day-to-day control of this property,” Fontana said.

The owner will be granted a period by the courts to repair the property or dispose of it. Any monies invested in the property by the custodian will have to be repaid by the owner before the guardianship is removed.

He estimated that going through a conservatorship on a property would cost about $4,000 of USDA money. The second project decided on was to get a concept design plan for a property in town to improve it for festivals and events like Farmers Markets. The cost of these would be around $1,500 to $1,800 per design plus a budget to develop it.

RCA approved the expenditure of the USDA Innovation Grant on these two projects suggested by Fontana.

“That becomes the conceptual basis for current applications to DCED (Department of Community and Economic Development) or USDA or whoever for money to improve the property in about a year,” Fontana said.

Fontana also asked about a facade renovation program the organization had started. Board member Sheri Price said the ARC had design guidelines, but never funded the program. She said this is because the group was told the plan would have no weight unless the borough was zoned.

Price said the CAR had begun the process of zoning downtown, but there was “unrest”. Fontana said it doesn’t have to be a Main Street program, although applying for a fronting grant from DCED is preferable.

He said it would be helpful to have letters of interest from companies interested in facade work to include in an application. Businesses should follow RCA’s guidelines for getting money, and Fontana suggested holding an information session for businesses in the city about it.

The RCA also elected leaders, which had yet to be updated since the beginning of the year. The officers were all re-elected to their current positions as follows:

  • President –Sarah Caltagarone
  • Vice President – ​​Sam Bundy
  • Secretary – Denise Preston
  • Treasurer – Cathay Striegel
  • Extraordinary Member – Bonnie Kaushik

David H. Henry