Grant of nearly a half million dollars will help Conneaut Lake revitalization

By Keith Gushard

Meadville Tribune


January 11, 2017

CONNEAUT LAKE — Nearly a half million dollar grant will help continue revitalization efforts along the borough of Conneaut Lake's main corridor of its business district.

The $475,000 grant is for improvements along a portion of Water Street — the borough's main east-west street. It will fund new crosswalks, sidewalks, lighting and Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant curb cuts and ramps on Water Street between Second and Third streets.

"It's wonderful news," said Bill Eldridge, chairman of the Conneaut Lake Community Development Committee (CLCDC) and a member of Conneaut Lake Borough Council. The CLCDC has been spearheading revitalization efforts in the borough for more than a decade.

The grant for Conneaut Lake was one of 51 projects slated to receive a total of $33 million in federal funds to improve transportation alternatives, according to Gov. Tom Wolf. Meadville also received a $219,940 grant to repair a footbridge that crosses Mill Run within the city.

“These projects are important initiatives that enhance communities across Pennsylvania to create stronger economies and better infrastructure,” Wolf said in a statement Tuesday. “Making these improvements will enhance pedestrian and bicycle facilities, improve access to public transportation, create safe routes to school, preserve historic transportation structures, provide environmental mitigation, create trails that serve a transportation purpose, and promote safety and mobility.”

“We are very pleased that the governor and his administration has continued to support our ongoing efforts to revitalize Water Street,” Eldridge said of Conneaut Lake's grant.

Conneaut Lake previously received funding to make similar street improvements to Water Street between First and Second streets.

While the work on the Water Street block between First and Second streets is expected to go to bid this spring, it's short of being fully funded, Eldridge said. The development committee and Borough Council possibly may look at asking the state if some of $475,000 grant could be used to fill in the funding gap.

"It has to be discussed," Eldridge said.

State Rep. Parke Wentling, a Republican whose district includes Conneaut Lake, said he was pleased to help secure the new grant.

“This funding will not only help Conneaut Lake beautify its main street through town, but it will also attract additional visitors and businesses to the lakeside community,” Wentling said.

The $475,000 is funded through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Alternatives Program. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reviewed grant applications and awarded funding.

PennDOT evaluated the applications and made selections based on such criteria as safety benefits, reasonableness of cost, readiness for implementation, statewide or regional significance, integration of land use and transportation decision making, collaboration with stakeholders, and leverage of other projects or funding.