A Carbon County District Judge should have a new office by the end of the year, Carbon officials said. This is due to a redevelopment project that is planned for a vacant building in Packer Township.
During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, the board voted to approve the submission of an EDI Special Projects Grant Application in the amount of $475,000 to the Carbon County Economic Development Corporation, who will be the sub-grantee, and will redevelop a 6,200-square-foot building into office space. The building is located at 1518 Brenkman Drive, just outside of Weatherly.
Commissioner William O'Gurek, chairman, explained the action will help the Economic Development Corporation complete its redevelopment project.
O'Gurek stated that the building was last used as a manufacturing facility in the 1980s. The Economic Development Corporation took possession of the building in November 2010 because it was the guarantor of the previous company's loan from the state, which was defaulted on. Since the corporation was the guarantor, when the state decided to foreclose on the property, the corporation had the option to obtain the building. It is now in the process of negotiating the outstanding mortgage with the state.
He added that the county is partnering with the corporation in that it is giving them the nearly $500,000 grant that former Congressman Paul Kanjorski secured for Carbon in 2009.
He explained that the money was originally for the Packerton Business Park Project, but could be used for other projects that were for redevelopment, blighted structures, or revitalization of distressed neighborhoods.
The corporation will now use $380,000 of that grant on construction costs, with the remaining money being used for design work and engineering. The project, if no delays occur, is expected to be completed in October.
"It will be a nice addition to the Weatherly area," O'Gurek said, noting that the county will lease 2,500 square feet of the building for District Judge Joseph Homanko's office.
The county has been looking to relocate Homanko from his current office in Weatherly since the lease agreement expired earlier this year. It currently pays for the office on a month-to-month basis.
O'Gurek added that the remaining office space will be available for another agency or business to lease.
In addition to redeveloping the building, additional parking spaces will also be developed on the property.
O'Gurek explained that the Economic Development Corporation is a separate entity from the county, which has an Economic Development office.
The corporation currently owns one building, located in the Green Acres Industrial Park in Nesquehoning. That building houses Liquid Fence. The corporation also helps secure funding for prime industry in the area.
O'Gurek explained that the county's concept is to have the Economic Development office work with the corporation to help them become a self-sustaining entity.