CLEARFIELD – Following a public hearing Tuesday morning, the Clearfield County Commissioners passed a resolution that will authorize the formal approval of a separate authority to manage the Curwensville Lake and Recreation Area.
In addition to the resolution, the commissioners appointed a five-member board that will serve on the Curwensville Lake Authority.
“We were pleasantly surprised by the number of applicants,” Commissioner Chairwoman Joan Robinson-McMillen said, adding that if each had been appointed, the authority’s board would have been around 15 members strong.
She said the initial board members will be: Jesse Mayhew, Clearfield, one-year term; Aaron Evans, Clearfield, two-year term; Susan Reed, of the Clearfield County Conservation District, three-year term; Charles Giuarino, Curwensville, four-year term; and James Kling, Clearfield, five-year term.
County Solicitor Kim Kesner said the board member’s terms will be staggered over five years, so that no more than one ends each year.
McMillen said she hopes the other applicants who were not appointed but expressed interest will attend the lake authority’s meetings and will also stay involved.
“Like he (Kesner) said, the terms will be staggered, and we’ll have one open up next year,” she said.
Kesner said that once the Curwensville Lake Authority has been “formally created,” board members will, then, be able to hold an organizational meeting and adopt by-laws.
“They have a lot of work ahead of them,” he said.
During the public hearing, the commissioners heard support from those whom have an interest in the lake.
Clearfield resident Jackie Harmic said she believed the separate authority would be an asset. She said that the lake has been “swept under” at times in the past.
“Now, the lake can continue to move forward,” she said.
Mayhew said the lake could only benefit and be a positive for the community. He said recreation is the “best thing” that the area has to offer. He said that young people need to be involved in the community recreation at the lake.
Adding to her previous statement of support, Harmic said that her family has used the lake area for decades.
“We need people who understand the workings of the lake. I think it’s a great idea. We need people who use the lake,” she said.
McMillen said that she and her fellow commissioners had thought long and hard about the potential creation of a Curwensville Lake Authority.
She said that the lake does deserve an authority of its own, and each of them was excited as a result.
“We’re excited and challenge area residents to use it. “It’s not just for visitors, but our residents as well,” she said.
Commissioner Mark McCracken said that it wasn’t a “short-term decision.” He said that plans had been previously discussed by the last board of commissioners.
“I was an advocate (for the Curwensville Lake Authority) during my first-term. I think it will take the lake’s potential and allow it to grow,” he said.
He said the separate authority will allow the Clearfield County Recreation and Tourism Authority to focus its promotion on all of the county’s assets. He said the tourism board will still continue its partnership and promotion of the lake.
Sandy Fink-Barrett, director of the recreation and tourism authority, said that she loves the lake area but not because she had been apart of its management over the past few years.
“Outdoor recreation is our strongest asset in the county and the PA Wilds,” Barrett said, adding that she looks forward to continuing the lake’s promotion. She said the economic benefits have already extended into the surrounding areas, as local business have seen increased visits.
McCracken said the lake has a lot of potential, and it’s exciting time for the lake and its recreation area.
“It’s a very good facility right now, and this stepping stone today will only make it better.”
Commissioner John A. Sobel said the county has a lot of exciting things happening.
“And, this is certainly one of them,” he said.
(Aaron Evans, who was appointed to the Curwensville Lake Authority for a two-year term, is also the current editor of GantDaily.com).