Lycoming County seeks input for 2030
HUGHESVILLE – What’s in store for the future? That was to be determined when officials from the Lycoming County Planning & Community Development met with the public last month to discuss ways to improve and revitalize the natural and historic resources within the county.
An update is needed to identify buildings, structures and local connections to the past. The last one was completed in 1974, and by 2017, hopefully, a new comprehensive plan will be adopted announced Kim Wheeler, Deputy Director of Planning & Community Development. Welcoming a full audience on Monday, September 28 with a kick-off meeting at the Hughesville Public Library, Wheeler explained the need for public input by helping to establish some of the priorities for growth and development. “This will be our primary guide for decision makers,” she said. “It’s a process of organizing our future and understanding community issues. A comprehensive plan will include the best possible policies and implementation tools to accommodate expected grrowth while protecting the county’s vast and precious resources.”
Sub-focus groups and outreach centers were stationed for the public to present their ideas and a public survey was available, and still is for anyone interested in expressing their views and concerns, to complete before the end of October.
The areas of focus were divided into four parts: community facilities and infrastructure, community and economic development, transportation and mobility, and natural, historic and cultural resources. For example, some projects to identify could include more housing by possibly revitalizing factories such as the Brodart facility in Williamsport.
The public was asked to come up with about five to ten projects of significant interest to the area. “We want to know what you think,” Wheeler further explained. “This will get local ownership with a plan to commit and implement.”
Alison Rupert from Hughesville inquired about funding sources for all of this. Director Kurt Hausammann replied that it will come from all different sources. Fran McJunkin, Deputy Director added, “Every funder wants to know if the project is consistent with a comprehensive plan. Having a well thought out plan provides a better funding source.”
“Identify the projects first, then concentrate on funding,” Hausammann added.
Mark Murawski from Transportation & Planning included the need to go after these grants for big projects, “but they have to be the right projects and have community support, and often need grant matches.”
Four million was spent so far this year in grant money for the county. It included projects for senior housing, reducing energy costs, and finding alternative energy projects.
Muncy resident Oliver Sones expressed the need for improved transportation. He inquired about the rail authority and the project in Muncy Creek Township as an alternate for the truck traffic. Murawski said a major transportation study is in the process for completion for Muncy focusing on 5 municipalities. “There is fast growth here and we want to make sure the infrastructure can support the growth,” he added referring to managing a new road system that will be able to handle the increased traffic. A blueprint for this is about 75 percent complete.
Amy Fry, GIS Supervisor attested that Wolf Township is one of the fastest growing municipalities in the county right now, especially with housing and residential development.
“Many things have changed since we last completed our comprhensive plan, including the arrival of the gas industry and major infrastructure and economic development in areas of the county,” Hausammann said.
There were four kick-off meetings for input throughout the county. The web-based survey can be completed at www.lyco.org/compplan or call the main office at 570-320-2130.