County eyes Franklin site for recycling center

Venango County is still in the process of securing a location for a countywide recycling center with just a little over a year left before grant money for the project runs out

Erik Johnson, the county’s recycling and solid waste coordinator, told the Venango County Regional Planning Commission at the panel’s meeting Tuesday that after touring four prospective locations in November with a consultant, he plans to recommend a site in Franklin to county commissioners next week.

The county received the $345,502 state grant for a recycling center in October 2018 with the stipulation the facility be paid for by January 2021.

The county has considered multiple sites in the county over the past year, including the former Sears Automotive department in the Cranberry Mall. Cranberry Township supervisors rejected that proposal after discussion at several meetings.

Johnson said Tuesday the county may be granted up to a three-month extension on the project.

In other matters at Tuesday’s planning commission meeting, updates were given on the two ongoing projects in downtown Oil City – the multimodal transportation hub and Cornplanter Square.

A contract for new windows and doors at Cornplanter Square has been approved, said Jason Ruggiero, the planning commission executive director.

“Don’t be alarmed if you see windows missing from the Cornplanter building,” Ruggiero said.

He explained that the windows are in the process of being removed and new ones fabricated.

Drayer Electric was awarded the contract to install the electric car charging station at the Cornplanter building, Hillary Buchanan, the planning commission’s deputy director, said. She added that the charging station will be ordered from EV Charge Solutions.

Construction is also underway at the multimodal hub, Ruggiero said.

The general contractor and electrician are currently on sight, he added.

The electrician is removing street and lot lights as well as installing temporary power for the contractors to use during construction, Ruggiero said.

The general contractor is removing curbs on Elm Street, sighting the building and driving piles, he added.

Ruggiero said the planning commission is working with PennDOT and the city to improve signage on Elm and Clifford streets.

In other business, community development planner Josh Sterling said he is looking into how to apply Community Development Block Grant money to assist Cranberry Township residents with stabilizing stream banks that were washed out in the flash flooding last July.

Sterling said the plan is to have homeowners living along affected portions of Lower Two Mile Run fill out a household survey to see who qualifies for the CDBG funding, which is allotted based on income.

If a series of homeowners along the creek all qualify as low to moderate income, CDBG funds could be used to fix the stretch of stream bank running along their properties, Sterling said.

Ruggiero noted that PennDOT has approved a $32 million project for reconstruction work on Route 8 in Irwin, Victory and Sandycreek townships. Glenn O. Hawbaker of State College was awarded the contract for the project.

Ruggiero said construction will begin this spring after improvements are made to Old Route 8, which will be the main detour during the project.

There were 73 subdivisions approved in Venango County in 2019, a 9% increase from 2018, land use planner Ashley Smith said at the meeting. Cranberry Township had 15 of those subdivisions.

Smith added that 61 stormwater applications were also approved in 2019, which is up from 2018.