The year ahead: Water project, COVID response top GC's 2021 list

MONICA PRYTS | Allied NewsThe former Girl Scout lodge at Grove City Memorial Park will be torn down to make way for a new water treatment plant.

GROVE CITY – A new year means the start of another major project in Grove City – a project that will benefit more than just the borough.

As things are wrapping up with the wastewater treatment plant renovation and expansion, borough officials are preparing for a new water treatment plant.

Designs are being completed by Dan Goncz of Gannett Fleming Inc., the borough’s engineer. Borough Manager Vance Oakes said he expects council to host an infrastructure committee meeting sometime in January to share the preliminary plans.

The borough updated its master water supply plan about three years ago, and it indicated that a new plant would be beneficial.

The $10 million project, which is being covered by borrowing through a bond issue, will serve customers in the borough and in Liberty and Pine townships.

The current plant be disconnected from the water system. That building at Harvard and Park streets eventually will be used for storage.

A second building at Grove City Memorial Park that is part of the water treatment system also will be taken offline.

The new plant will be built at the rear of the park where the former Girl Scout lodge stands. The building is no longer in use, and it will be torn down at the end of 2021, Oakes said.

Construction will take about a year, and the new water plant will resemble the lodge’s exterior.

“It’s not going to look like an industrial building,” he said.

New water lines will be built in and around the park, extending to West Main and South Center streets and near the post office.

“It should be seamless,” Oakes said of the transition.

As for the wastewater treatment plant project, a public open house will be scheduled along with a tour for leaders of the other municipalities that are part of the sewage system.

That includes Harrisville and the townships of Liberty, Pine and Springfield.

Also ahead in 2021:

The borough will be doing a lot of maintenance work on roads like patching holes.

Grove City is not able to invest a lot of money into certain projects like more extensive road repairs, Oakes said.

That’s because tax revenues are down slightly due to some people not working as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Liquid fuel funds are also done, he added. That money comes from state fuel taxes and often helps cover the cost of road work.

The widening of Liberty Street, which is a PennDOT project, is ongoing and should be complete in about nine months.

In other COVID news, the borough is receiving about $60,000 in COVID relief funds that is earmarked for small businesses.

“We’ve been at this for nine months now,” Oakes said of the pandemic.

Penn-Northwest Development Corp., the county’s lead economic development agency, is putting together an online application that small business owners in Grove City will be able to fill out and submit for consideration.

The criteria is set by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. The main requirement is that the business employ people who have low to moderate incomes, he said.

Each business that is approved for funding can receive up to $10,000, and it’s being administered by the Mercer County Regional Planning Commission on the borough’s behalf.

Business owners cannot apply if they have already received funding through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

Borough officials have had discussions with business owners. “There is interest in this,” Oakes said.

He’s also keeping an eye on the new COVID-19 vaccines, which will be available to borough police soon, followed by public works employees.

Council meets at 7 p.m. the third Monday of the month with the exception of the January meeting, which will be at 7 p.m. Jan. 21.

For more information about Grove City borough, call 724-458-7060, or visit grovecityonline.com or “Borough of Grove City” on Facebook.

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