The Chamber to Communicate Paving Updates

Paving to Begin this Saturday, June 9th on Market Street in Berwick

In early May the Chamber held a Road Construction Update Meeting in Berwick. Peters Consultants Inc. and PennDOT attended this event and informed businesses on the current state of the project as well as the anticipated paving schedule.

Overall there was frustration from the businesses due to the lack of communication involving the project.  The Chamber is currently working with PennDOT as well as other media outlets to help communicate where paving will be taking place and the detours. This information will be posted on the News Section of the Chamber’s homepage as well as the Chamber, Berwick Borough, and McBride Library Facebook Pages.

 You are welcome to share the paving updates on your Facebook page or if you would like to post information on your website or other media outlets please contact Kim Rinehimer at krinehimer@columbiamontourchamber.com or call 784-2522.

Below is a tentative Berwick paving itinerary for the upcoming week. The Chamber encourages you to visit businesses in Berwick to show your support for the community! To find Chamber members in Berwick click here.

 The paving project is set to begin in Berwick this Saturday, June 9th with stage 1A.

 Paving:Tentatively June 9-15 reconstruction of Market Street between Front and Second Streets will take place as well as reconstruction of the left lanes of Front and Second Street near Market Street.

 Detour: A detour of Market Street will be in place via Pine or Vine Streets.

 

Business Park Intended for Light Industrial Use

By Fred Gaffney, President, Columbia Alliance for Economic Growth

Recently, the Columbia County Industrial Development Authority (CCIDA) and Columbia Alliance were seeking approval to bring significant tax incentives to the new Columbia County Business Park in Scott Township, Columbia County. Designation as a Keystone Opportunity Expansion Zone (KOEZ) would have been a significant tool in marketing the Park by maximizing the competitiveness of the site in relation to the 3,700+ KOZ/KOEZ acres currently available in surrounding counties. Authorization was required by the County Commissioners, Central Columbia School Board, and Scott Township Board of Supervisors. Last Wednesday, Press Enterprise ran an article predicated by the Supervisors’ vote. There were two issues in the article that need clarification.

The article incorrectly stated that “38 acres in the park are designated for industry. The rest is reserved for commercial business.” No acreage or parcels have been designated for specific use. The entire parcel is zoned light industrial. In Scott Township, this zoning designation also permits commercial uses. In the applications to the State and Federal funding agencies for this project, it was suggested that, due to the situation of the parcel at the interchange, up to 12 acres might be utilized for traditional interchange commercial development. Therefore, my statement was that the park could have no more than 12 acres of traditional highway commercial use. The Press did print a correction on this issue. The goal of the CCIDA and Alliance is to create higher-wage, higher-density job opportunities, not offer competitive advantages against existing local employers.

Additionally, two of the Scott Township Supervisors questioned why the CCIDA and Alliance “waited until now to spring the idea on them considering the project’s been in the works for years.” Authorization for new KOZ/KOEZ applications is by legislative action. PA Senate Bill 1237, which authorized new applications, was only passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor in mid-February of this year. We learned of details of the latest authorization on February 28th. Following that, the CCIDA and Alliance Boards discussed the opportunity and decided to move forward with the request for authorization by the taxing bodies. Our solicitor then had to draft the language of the resolution and PILOT agreement with consistency between the Township, County, and School District. We may have been able to get the information to the Township a meeting or two sooner, but the idea was first discussed with the Supervisors at their April 24th meeting. At the May 8th meeting, we again discussed and attempted to address any of Supervisors’ concerns by the meeting on the 22nd. The article accurately noted that there is a June 1 application deadline. In no way did the CCIDA and Alliance intend to blindside the Supervisors with this request.

The Commissioners voted to authorize KOEZ designation at their meeting on May 3rd by a 2 to 1 vote. The Central Columbia School District approved the measure at their meeting on May 7th by an 8 to 1 vote. The PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) requires approval by all local taxing bodies impacted, so the Business Park cannot be included in SEDA-COG’s central region application with the Township Supervisors’ tie vote of 2-2 last Tuesday.

While disappointed in the final outcome of the KOEZ proposal, the CCIDA and Alliance plan to aggressively market the site with a goal of attracting quality, long-term jobs opportunities once construction is completed in the coming weeks. The Park was developed without an initial prospect of incentive programs, and while there are other options to be discussed, the Boards remain optimistic about the success of this project.

 

 

 

 

 

PennDOT Makes Announcement at the Chamber Construction Update

The Chamber held a Construction Update and Meet & Greet for Berwick businesses last week at the Berwick Elks. Approximately 35 members attended this event to listen to representatives from the Borough, PennDOT, and Peters Consultants. The representatives provided an overview of the construction project as well as a projected outline of paving efforts. PennDOT will be conducting overnight paving in order to alleviate traffic problems. The Chamber and Berwick Task Force are working on efforts to provide road closure updates and detours to the public.

PennDOT announced at the Construction Update and Meet & Greet that both PennDOT and Barletta Materials & Construction Inc. will be holding an informational meeting Wednesday, May 23rd in the Reliance Fire Hall at 2:00p.m. The public is invited to attend this meeting which will provide an overview of the Route 11 road construction project. PennDOT will also discuss the upcoming paving schedule. No RSVP is needed.

Kevin Smith of PennDOT explaining the paving stages.

 

 

Swing into Spring with the Chamber’s Golf Outing

The Chamber’s Annual Golf Outing sponsored by at&t will be held on Thursday, May 24th at Mill Race Golf Course in Benton. Registration and lunch will start at 11:00 a.m. followed by a noon shotgun start. For just $85 per golfer or $340 per team (foursome), you can participate in this relaxing day of golf. This full golf package includes your green fees, lunch, cart, beverages on the course, a dinner including made to order steaks, and great prizes.  There will be a hole in one prize of $10,000 and 4 other great hole in one prizes courtesy of Alexander Family Buick GMC Truck.

Numerous business deals are closed on the golf course, if you don’t play; this is the perfect opportunity to learn. If you do play, this is a perfect opportunity to get to know potential new customers in a serene setting with the scent of freshly cut greens. Register for this event today!

To maximize your exposure at the Golf Outing, take advantage of the Chamber’s sponsorship opportunities. From the Beverage Sponsors to our newly improved Hole Sponsor  there is an opportunity for all businesses large and small.

Below is a list of our current sponsors:

Event:       

Dinner: MetroCast Communications
Lunch: Berwick Hospital Center
Beverage: Mid-Penn Engineering
Hole-In-One: Alexander Family Buick GMC Truck
Snack: First Columbia Bank & Trust, ServPro of Columbia Montour & Sullivan Counties
Dessert: Berwick Medicine Shop, Zimmer Insurance Agency
Hole: Twin Bridges Storage, Dillon Floral, GordnerCoombs Insurance Inc., Berwick Hospital Center, 3B Consultant Services, Inc., Philadelphia Federal Credit Union, Burkavage Design, Lewis Barlett Klees, First Keystone Community Bank, Barry Isett & Associates Inc., ChamberChoice, Geisinger Health Plan, Walkers Jewelers, Peters Consultants
For more information on this event or any of our sponsorship opportunities please contact Amy Shortlidge at 752-3601 or ashortlidge@columbiamontourchamber.com.

 

Have Fun with Friends and Family at the Renaissance Jamboree

Rain or shine, thousands of visitors will fill the streets of historic downtown Bloomsburg for the Renaissance Jamboree. This festival has something for everyone, free entertainment, games, food stands, and hundreds of art and craft vendors. The Jamboree is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and parking is available at the Fairgrounds. There will be a handicapped – accessible shuttle running all day from the Fairgrounds to the Jamboree.

The Renaissance Jamboree provides an opportunity for many local non-profit organizations to generate extra revenue. So come out and enjoy this fun, family oriented community event!

The collaboration of the University, Downtown Bloomsburg, the Town of Bloomsburg, and the Chamber help to make this great event possible. A special thank you to all the volunteers that spend numerous hours putting together this great event.

For more information, call the Chamber at 784-2522 or email Eleanor Stokley at estokley@columbiamontourchamber.com