New Castle News

Local News

April 27, 2012

Mahoning gets $7.5 million; plans to complete sewer project

NEW CASTLE — After years of waiting, Mahoning Township has enough money to finish its sewer project.

The supervisors learned Wednesday morning that they had been approved for a $7.5 million grant through the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority.

“I can’t believe that it came through,” chairman Gary Pezzuolo said. “We’ve been waiting for this for so long.”

He noted the township will receive $7,556,690.

The grant will enable the township to complete the second and third phases of the project. This entails completing work at the new treatment plant, which will have a capacity of 360,000 gallons per day.

The township will install an additional 39,175 feet of sewer line and two pumping stations necessary to connect 210 more Edinburg residents. The lines also will be extended along Route 422 to Route 551 and the site designated for a proposed racetrack/casino. In addition, the sewer will support a proposed resort hotel and indoor waterpark planned by local developer Carmen Shick.

Pezzuolo said aspects of the township’s sewer project were scaled down when anticipated funding failed to materialize.

With this grant, he explained, the township will have $23.5 million available. This includes a $5 million grant through the H2O PA program of the Commonwealth Financing Authority and $11 million from PennVEST— a $1 million grant and $10 million borrowed at a low interest rate.

The additional funds, Pezzuolo said “will result in a tremendous discount in the rates we will be paying.”

In March, the supervisors determined residential users will pay $65 per month and commercial users, $85 per month for sewer service.

“By extending the line, we’ll be adding customers and that will drop the rate down.” He does not yet know by how much.

The township had anticipated 394 customers through Phases I and II and more than 700 when Phase III is completed.

Bill Wyza of Main Street in Hillsville became the township’s first resident to tap into the sewer line. Residents have been connecting at a rate of four or five per day.

Pezzuolo said RAR Engineering, the township engineers who also are overseeing the project, applied at least five times for additional PennVEST grant money.

“We finally have enough economic development points to qualify for the funding.”

Supervisor Vito Yeropoli said this time, Shick had included his development plans with the application.

“They could see they were holding up economic development if we didn’t get the grant,” Yeropoli said.

State Sen. Elder Vogel Jr. noted the expanded sewer lines will stave off action from the department of environmental protection “and make the area more attractive for economic development and job growth.”

Once the money is received, Pezzuolo said, the township will continue its bidding process to resume the project. He anticipates it will be in full swing in the next six months.

“Then we’re hoping we’ll get more good news.”

Pezzuolo said he anticipates American Harness Tracks will announce soon it has applied for a casino license.

Saying he understands financing is in place, Pezzuolo noted the township was recently asked to submit information on zoning and other permits.

(Email: nlowry@ncnewsonline.com)

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