Towanda Borough faces $1.1M funding shortfall for downtown project
TOWANDA - Towanda Borough is facing a funding shortfall of approximately $1.1 million for the planned $16.5 million redevelopment project in part of the 400 block of Main Street, the borough manager said on Wednesday.
The project includes a municipal parking garage and a four-story building, with 6,500 square feet of commercial space on its ground floor and 38 apartments for income-eligible senior citizens on its upper floors.
The shortfall exists in part because the borough must pay for architectural and engineering fees that are part of the project, Towanda Borough Manager Kyle V. Lane told the Towanda Borough Council at its most recent meeting.
While the borough was awarded a $5 million state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Project (RACP) grant to help pay for the project, the state does not allow the grant money to be used to pay for architectural and engineering fees, he said.
The rest of the shortfall results from the need to move a sanitary sewer line and reconstruct a storm sewer line, both of which run through the site, according to borough officials.
The cost of addressing the sewer issues had been estimated to be $500,000, Lane said.
"Tom (Towanda Borough Project Manager Tom Fairchild Jr.) and I are looking for money" to help cover the shortfall, Lane told the borough council at its October meeting.
In the worst-case scenario, the borough would have to scale back the size of the project's municipal parking garage, which would mean that it would have fewer parking spaces, he said.
"We sent a request to a private company that did not want to be named" for some money for the project, he said. The company had previously said that it would provide money for the project, he said.
In an interview on Wednesday, Lane declined to disclose the amount of money being sought from the company. "We don't want to ruffle any feathers," he said.
The parking garage would have spaces for 200 vehicles.
The project will be constructed at the site of an existing unpaved municipal parking lot on Main Street in downtown Towanda and on land west of the lot.
James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.