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Montgomery’s “Old Mill” Area Marked for Renewal

By Staff | May 5, 2009

The announcement of the Corridor Plan Project made last Friday by the Lycoming County Planning Commission and the county’s Board of Commissioners has identified the 24-acre “Old Mill” area along Route 405 in Montgomery as a brownfield site and one of two locations in the county that have unique characteristics for extremely high economic renewal and development potential. Brownfield sites refer to properties that are underutilized for various socioeconomic reasons such as abandonment, obsolescence, tax delinquency, and/or blight, and whose redevelopment is inhibited by the real or perceived presence of hazardous substances.

A Gateway to the Community

Montgomery’s Old Mill area and a 400-acre section along I-180 from Market Street to US Route 15 North in the City of Williamsport were chosen, in part, because of they are considered “gateways” into their respective communities, according to Rachelle Ricotta, Community Development Planner. Options for these corridors will be determined as the project moves forward, with the technical support of Mackin Engineering and MACTEC Engineering of Pittsburgh, and Williamsport’s Larson Design Group. Local leadership and community involvement is paramount, however, according to County Commissioner Rebecca Burke, who states, “We will rely on local leadership to create a practical vision for the future and take steps to making this vision real.”

Time to Get Involved

To determine realistic goals for the corridors, feasibility studies will first identify assets that exist and ways to revitalize underused areas within them. Then, a visioning process will offer the borough’s residents to participate in public and landowner meetings and other collaborative sessions that will be held to allow input from the community. Montgomery Mayor Onufrak referred to the borough’s slogan, “Growing Toward Tomorrow,” when he encouraged community involvement in this important project. “The work we have ahead of us will neither be easy nor quick, but it is necessary for the future of Montgomery,” he said.

A Youth Ambassador Program involving the area’s high school students will be implemented as part of this project, as well as the opportunity to incorporate informational sessions into meetings held by already existing groups, such as civic and church organizations. Members of the initial Steering Committee from Montgomery include Mayor Andy Onufrak, Montgomery School Superintendent Daphne Ross, Borough Manager John Lynch, Borough Council President Lynn Crist, and residents David Morehart and Peggy Yohn.

The projected timeframe for the project includes the completion of the feasibility study by this fall, the completion of the visioning process by early next summer (2010), followed by the initiation of implementation plans.