Ford City enlists public's help in finding solution to default on federal grant
Ford City Council will be brainstorming to come up with solutions to a $600,000 problem, and, later this week, residents are welcome to join them.
Borough officials will hold a public meeting on Thursday to discuss repayment of a $580,000 federal grant that the borough defaulted on five years ago.
Council has been scrambling this summer to address a demand for repayment from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration, which gave Ford City the grant to redevelop the former PPG foundry site.
The now-defunct Ford City Community Development Corp. administered the grant, which was given to spur economic development.
Ford City has until Aug. 31 to come up with possible solutions and present them to the EDA, according to a May 1 letter from the agency.
Federal funds threatened
Without a solution, officials said, future financial support may be in jeopardy.
“As it stands currently, Ford City Borough will never get a federal grant,” Councilwoman Vickie Schaub said. “The borough is financially responsible to get this resolved.”
According to the terms of the grant, Ford City had to maintain ownership of the property until 2017.
That didn't happen.
In 2009 — a year after the Ford City Community Development Corp. went bankrupt — Farmers & Merchants Bank foreclosed on the property. The bank, in spring 2010, bought the eight-acre site for $600,000 at a sheriff's sale.
Development at the property continued. It now houses OEM Shades and Belleflex Technologies.
“If it was never foreclosed on, it would have never been in violation,” said Councilman Josh Abernathy. “The only issue is the violation of letting it be foreclosed upon.”
Possible solutions Ford City may present include repayment, property in lieu of payment or leaning on the jobs created by the site to satisfy part of the amount, according to Abernathy.
At this point, council, as well as planning commission members and residents, are considering options.
“We've got to move forward,” Abernathy said. “We need an action plan.”
Julie E. Martin is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1315 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Family safe but dog dies in Sugarcreek trailer fire
- Armstrong gets 4th officer trained to spot drugged drivers
- Ford City fundraiser benefits two groups
- Kittanning project extended to include courthouse sidewalks
- Aluminum rails stolen from Mosgrove river lock
- Groups looking to stage Day of Prayer at new school in Manor
- Armstrong County crew living history at Appomattox
- Men charged in West Kittanning, East Franklin burglaries
- Alle Kiski Strong Chamber seeks executive director
- West Kittanning planning road work on limited budget
- Lost dog found; boxer now missing in Manor