Grant secured for library construction

HARRISBURG – The Hollidaysburg Area Public Library construction project will be getting nearly $1 million in state funding, officials announced Monday.

The new library earned $975,000 from the Economic Growth Initiative, which seeks to assist projects that stimulate jobs and economic growth in Pennsylvania, said Jay Pagni, spokesman for the governor’s budget office. The program was redesigned in 2012 to ensure the funds were directed to active projects, he said.

Fifty-eight projects were selected for the current round of funding.

“During our redesign and our retool, we focused on those projects that would have the most impact in the community,” Pagni said.

The 58 grants totaled more than $133 million, he said, and range in possible value from $500,000 to $5 million.

The plans for a new library in Hollidaysburg have been in the works for close to a decade. Groundbreaking for the 11,500-square-foot facility at 1 Furnace Road was held on June 27. The project will cost $2.8 million.

Hollidaysburg Borough Manager Mark Schroyer said that the project’s coordinators began working with state Rep. Jerry Stern, R-Martinsburg, on securing the funds more than six months ago.

Stern, who could not be reached for comment on Monday, said in a statement that facilities like libraries provide a number of important services to citizens.

“Libraries are essential to our communities, providing valuable programming; a source of information and entertainment; access to technology; and community meeting spaces,” Stern said. “I am an ardent supporter of the library’s decision to expand its space and increase services with the construction of a new facility and was happy to advocate on its behalf and receive funding from the state.”

Pagni said more than 100 applications were received for the grant program. He said officials saw a lot of projects put on hold after state funds were granted, making the money “a liability” for the state.

Each of the 58 projects selected in this round of grants will see significant completion in the next six months to a year, he said, and will generate more than 45,000 jobs across 24 counties.

Construction on the library is expected to be completed in May 2014.

Mirror Staff Writer Paige Minemyer is at 946-7535.