County to Apply for Keystone Opportunity Funding

The Clearfield County Board of Commissioners named John A. Sobel its chairperson. Commissioner Joan Robinson-McMillen will serve as the board’s vice chairperson. Pictured, from left to right, are Sobel, Commissioner Mark B. McCracken and Robinson-McMillen. (Photo by Jessica Shirey)

CLEARFIELD – Yesterday, the Clearfield County Commissioners approved applying to the state Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) for Keystone Opportunity Funding.

The county approved applying for $325,000 for senior housing on Leonard Street. It also approved applying for $150,000 for the Coalport Borough flood project.

The first funding application is to further housing projects and programs in the county. The county wants to meet goals it’s outlined in its Housing Needs and Market Study of 2011 and the Local Housing Market Analysis recently conducted on behalf of the Leonard Street Gardens Project, said Lisa Kovalick, community development specialist.

According to her, senior households, age 62 and older, are the target market for the Leonard Street Gardens. This group, she said, will increase at a rate of 1.4 percent, or 57 households, annually through 2018.

In addition, Kovalick said approximately 31 percent of senior renter households have incomes between $15,000 and $24,999. She said that’s the approximate income range target for 50 percent and 60 percent of the units. Kovalick said approximately one-third of senior renter households have annual incomes of less than $15,000, a portion of which would be eligible for 20 percent of the units.

She also noted that:

  • Despite an overall decline in population and households in the primary market area, the senior household base is expected to increase. This, she said, is largely due to seniors aging while one-quarter of the primary market area’s population is age 62 or older and an additional 10.6 percent between the ages of 54 and 62 years old.
  • The rate of population and household loss is projected to slow, an indication that the primary market area may be stabilizing in regards to population and household migration due to economic conditions. This, she said, is consistent with the overall trends projected in Clearfield County, which is expected to remain stable through 2018. She credited the reversal of demographic trends as the result of Marcellus Shale drilling activity in the county.
  • The senior household base is characterized by modest incomes. She said two-thirds of senior renters and almost half of senior homeowners in the market will be income-qualified for the senior rental housing. The low penetration rate, she said, demonstrates the imbalance between moderate income senior households compared to affordable units addressing seniors’ needs.

The Colver Development Corp. has partnered with the Northern Cambria Community Development Corp. and Clearfield County to develop the Leonard Street Gardens. The CDC is the developer and general partner, while the NCCDC will provide the necessary supportive services for future tenants. The total project cost is expected to be approximately $7.3 million, Kovalick said.

So far as the Coalport flood project, she said it was coming to fruition. However, she noted that recent bids for the relocation of utilities came in higher than estimated when the project was proposed in 2000 by the state Department of Environmental Protection. As a result, she said the county will assist Coalport by applying for $150,000 to help with the gap in funding to complete the relocation of utility poles, sewer and water lines, park equipment and easements.

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