CLEARFIELD – Like local townships and boroughs, Clearfield County has received an influx of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to help deal with COVID pandemic-related and other allowable expenses.
The county’s board of commissioners “saw this as not only a great opportunity to address some internal county infrastructure needs, but also a chance to invest in some high-priority infrastructure projects in the county,” states a press release provided at Tuesday’s commissioners’ workshop meeting.
As such the commissioners surveyed local municipalities seeking high-priority projects in which to invest their ARPA funds.
In response the county received 70 projects from 36 different entities, said Jodi Brennan, planning director.
While some projects were in preliminary stages with no price estimates available, those who did supply price estimates were valued just under $97 million, she said.
“The sheer number of projects combined with the estimated cost of $97 million dollars demonstrate the overwhelming infrastructure needs that go unmet in the county.”
This made the process for project selection very competitive, and criteria were established and used to help narrow down the final projects selected, Brennan explained.
Such criteria included high-priority infrastructure needs, return on investment, leverage of additional investment, long-term solutions and replacement/rehabilitation over routine maintenance.
As a result, the county has narrowed down its list of potential projects to invest in, and is currently working down that list meeting with applicants to further develop a solid scope of work that maximizes the local and county funds by leveraging additional state and or federal funds, if necessary.
To date, the county has reached out and started working with the following list of nine entities to further develop a sound scope of work, according to Commissioner Dave Glass.
The commissioners, however, will continue to work through their prioritized project list as funds allow, he noted.
- Brady Township (replace/repair SBR and Digester Tank at Sewage Plant) – The sequential batch reactor tank at the sewage plant is cracked and leaking at the current time. The sewage plant is located in Luthersburg.
- Brady Township Troutville Borough Water Association (water system improvements) – Water quantity and quality have been an issue for the association. The yield in the existing wells is so low the association has almost depleted the stored water in their tanks on several occasions. Several test wells have been drilled and the yield has been too low to develop the wells. The association is currently exploring solutions.
- Burnside Township (replace Shepard Lane Bridge) – The structure is a single-span concrete (cast in place) bridge with a length of 39 feet. The bridge is located in Burnside Township and carries T-306 Shepard Lane over a branch of Beaver Run. This structure was added to the top-five priority local bridges for Clearfield County in consultation with PennDOT. This bridge is defined by the state as being in poor condition.
- DuBois City (new sewage treatment plant) – The current Sewage Treatment plant is in need of total replacement. There are several parts to the project, including building a new access road and bridge across the Sandy Lick Creek. This is an estimated $60 million project in need of multiple sources of funding.
- Clearfield Borough (replace storm lines) – Storm lines need replaced on East Locust Street from Cemetery Road where PennDOT put in new drainage, down the hill to Fourth Street. Drainage is important from both a public safety stance as well as preserving the road’s integrity.
- Cooper Township Municipal Authority (replace water meters) – The authority is currently under a consent order due to very large disparity between the volume of water they bring into the water treatment plant and the volume of water, which is ultimately delivered to the customers. When these service meters are worn out and do not read accurately or worse yet, have failed completely, this represents unaccounted water in the eyes of the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and lost revenue to the authority. New meters will also serve as detection meters catching leaks in real time.
- Curwensville Borough (install stormwater drainage) – Curwensville Borough has several areas in need of stormwater work. Working with PennDOT, the borough has identified 12 streets requiring 6,825 linear feet of storm drainage. This large project will be developed in phases as funding allows. The lack of proper drainage in these areas causes a multitude of issues, including ice buildup sporadically during freezing temperatures.
- Girard Township Municipal Authority (replace sewage grinder pump) – Due to COVID and the increased usage of disinfectant wipes (that are not bio-degradable), two grinder pumps failed and need replaced. The authority purchased one immediately, along with a submersible pump, to continue operating. However, a second pump is required to meet DEP guidelines, and the cost of which is almost as much as the authority’s annual revenue stream.
- Grampian Borough (install storm water drainage) – The borough has identified a need for stormwater drainage improvements to Sixth Street and four side streets that require inlets and piping. This project was identified in the 2022 County Hazard Mitigation plan.
Clearfield County was allocated $15,394,355 in ARPA funds, some of which were used for county jail roof renovations. Some will also be “held back” for future broadband internet projects.
However, Glass said the county will revisit the remaining infrastructure projects on its list down the road and still encourages county municipal entities in need of assistance to reach out to the commissioners’ office.
“Infrastructure is important,” said Commissioner Mary Tatum, “and at the end of the day, we are all Clearfield County.”