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Council wants to fight hunger with federal funds | News, sports, jobs

More hungry families can get high quality food approved for use by the city council thanks to the city government’s use of $ 20,000 in Covid-19 funding for the Community Development Block Grant.

The funds, administered by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, were requested by Skip Memmi, City Director, Department of Community and Economic Development, on behalf of those responsible for the “Welfare state service” Project.

The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank asked for just $ 20,000 for food distribution on Firetree Place for needy, low-to-middle-income families. The program called Fresh Express runs until June 30, 2022.

Families were helped during the pandemic due to economic hardship and social distancing, said Memmi. You will get the healthy and nutritious food that is locally sourced and packaged and distributed at Firetree Place, 600 Campbell St., he said.

The $ 20,000 will come from the city and $ 38,644 will be provided by the Food Bank.

The council next passed a resolution for an agreement between the city and the Student Conservation Association on the inventory, assessment and care of trees in Brandon Park.

From Aug.2-13, students working on a forestry degree will check the condition, dimensions and age of the trees, said Adam Winder, acting director general of public works. They will work with the municipal ranger and Penn State Extension, he said.

The council approved a sale or swap of land between the city and Lycoming County involving Executive Plaza and the Third Street parking garage. This land swap allows the county to put the Executive Plaza building up for sale and does not require exchanges of cash, Mayor Derek Slaughter said.

No housing or urban development funds were involved and none of the parcels were examined. The deal was negotiated by Norman Lubin, city attorney, and Mike Wiley, county attorney.

Regarding the lack of rating, Lubin said the cost of the rating could be very high.

Wiley’s research found the packages were of similar monetary value, Lubin said.

A 99-year lease with the district will be invalidated, he said.

Both companies benefit mutually from the land swap.

The parking deck is owned by the Williamsport Parking Authority and the county has contributed a significant amount of money to build the deck, Lubin said.

Before the Executive Plaza was built, the commercial and residential city block on Pine Street burned down. The housing and urban development money was used to demolish the burned and damaged block of buildings, Council President Randall J. Allison said, referring to written historical references.

The city then had a developer to build there, but they defaulted and a bank bought the property and sold it to the county, Lubin said.

The original intention was to have two buildings there, but that didn’t happen, Lubin said.

The district administration has expressed an interest in selling the building. When it becomes taxable, the owner of the property benefits from the fact that it becomes a taxable property.

“We own the land under Executive Plaza and they own land under the Third Street car park,” Slaughter said. “It’s a package swap.”

The vote in the council was 7-0.

The council and administration will hold a working meeting on Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Trade and Transit Center II. The meeting will be a discussion of the possible use of the American Rescue Plan’s $ 25.8 million. The meeting is public, Allison said.

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