CLARION – As work continues on the restoration of the Brady Tunnel, the project continues to garner the support of Clarion County officials.
During their regular meeting on Tuesday, Commissioners Ted Tharan, Wayne Brosius and Ed Heasley unanimously passed Resolution No. 15 of 2019, authorizing the county’s application for a $3 million Multimodal Transportation Fund grant from the Commonwealth Financing Authority for the Brady Township project.
While Clarion County is submitting the application, the resolution designates Allegheny Valley Land Trust executive director Chris Ziegler and Tharan as the officials to execute all documents and agreements associated with the grant.
“There is no match since the county is applying for the grant,” Ziegler said. Noting this is the last year the grant can be used, she said that it is more important than ever that the county apply for the funding. “Otherwise we’d have to come up with $1.5 million.”
Although not designated to a specific project phase, Ziegler said, if awarded, the grant funding will go toward the purchase and installation of additional liner as well as repair work in the middle of the tunnel.
“Phases don’t necessarily have to go in order,” she said, explaining that project officials are in the process of applying for multiple grants all with separate due dates and awarding times.
“Everything I’m applying for could be awarded by the end of this year, which could be construction money for next year,” she continued, adding that having all the money in hand at the same time would cut mobilization costs. “That would be the perfect world.”
With the project currently in the bidding process, Ziegler said the design for the first 50 feet of the tunnel restoration is complete, and the AVLT recently spent a few days diverting water over the northern portal.
“It’s going to be a nice project when it’s done,” Tharan said.
“It’s going to be beautiful,” Ziegler agreed.
In other business during the May 14 meeting, Tharan announced that a new monument honoring Clarion County Persian Gulf Era veterans will soon be installed in Veterans Memorial Park — located along Main Street in Clarion Borough across the street from the courthouse.
“We’ve been working on this since last summer, and it’s coming to fruition right now,” Tharan said, noting he hopes the new memorial will be installed before Memorial Day.
Inspired by the Bremer wall, a large portable, steel-reinforced concrete wall used for blast protection throughout Iraq and Afghanistan, the approximate six-foot-by-seven-foot monument will feature a tribute to all four branches of the U.S. Military, as well as the Gulf-era conflicts.
“We thought this should be done before they’re all gone,” Tharan said of the local Gulf-era veterans, explaining that he never thought it was right to ask veterans to raise their own money for a monument. “That’s why we decided to use Parks and Recreation money to build this monument.”
Tharan said a ceremony to dedicate the monument will be held this summer.
• County officials approved Resolution No. 13, stating Clarion County’s commitment to Fair Housing.
• Resolution No. 14 opposing state-proposed changes to the Medical Assistance Transportation Program was also approved.
According to Tharan, the proposed changes would take control of the Medical Assistance Transportation Program away from the counties and, in turn, put it in the hands of state-appointed brokers who would then manage the program.
Brosius noted that the county’s resolution supports Senate Bill 390, which would stop the changes proposed by the state.
• The following extensions for the use of 2015 CDBG grant funding were granted : East Brady Borough, extending deadline from May 18 to May 31 for Second Avenue Sewer Line Replacement; Clarion Township, also extending deadline from May 18 to May 31 for Fourth Avenue Storm Sewer improvements.
• The commissioners agreed to contribute $5,000 to help the Walter W. Craig American Legion Post 354 fund its new Veterans Memorial Park in New Bethlehem.
• An agreement was approved with Falcon Research to do title searches for 41 properties that will be up for Judicial Sale this year. The total cost is $3,075 including copy fees.
• A contract on behalf of Clarion County Public Safety with McCutcheon Enterprises to become re-certified as the county’s HAZMAT response coverage was also approved.
• Tharan also reported that the county will begin looking at options this summer for renovation work inside the main court room.