Indiana County seeks state funding to help develop Challenger Learning Center, downtown Indiana hotel
Indiana County officials are seeking state funding for development of two proposed local ventures —a space science education center and a downtown Indiana hotel.
At their April 10 meeting, the county commissioners authorized the county's Office of Planning and Development to submit business plans and funding applications for the projects to the state's Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. The deadline for RACP “pre-applications” was April 15. Any required matching funds associated with the grants would be the responsibility of the respective project participants and not the county.
The county is requesting $1.5 million to help develop a county-based Challenger Learning Center, now using the working title of Central Allegheny Challenger Learning Center Project. The 10,000 square-foot regional educational facility would offer simulated space missions to promote math, science and technology skills among students and would be the first center of its kind in Pennsylvania.
“Challenger likes a more regional title,” Julia Trimarchi Cuccaro, chairwoman of the local Challenger Center project committee, said concerning the facility's working title. “I've insisted that underneath that we are going to put ‘of Indiana County, Pennsylvania.' They are relatively scrupulous about naming.”
“We have about 7,500 students, through their school districts, committed to participate now in this thing,” said fellow project committee member Tom Harley, who is president of the Indiana Area School Board. “It's really getting very broad support from the districts and the surrounding counties. I think it truly will be a regional asset.”
Trimarchi Cuccaro said 27 school districts and more than 100,000 students would fall within a one-hour drive of a Challenger Learning Center located in Indiana County.
Grettler & Bruns, LLC, owners of the former Rochester and Pittsburgh Coal Company office building on Indiana's Church Street, are seeking $4 million in RACP money to convert the structure into a “Downtown Indiana Boutique Hotel,” with 47 guest rooms, meeting space and light dining, according to Byron Stauffer, executive director of the county Office of Planning and Development.
“This type of project would take that type of facility and really add another 40, 50, 60 years to the life of that kind of historical, monumental building in downtown,” Stauffer said.
The hotel would create 27 full-time jobs and 33 part-time jobs, according to Stauffer.
The commissioners also approved a contract amendment increasing the starting wages offered for certified nurses aides and licensed nurse practitioners at the county's Communities at Indian Haven care home to be competitive with the starting wages offered at other health care providers in the area.
The county will be accepting bids for three out-of-service county vehicles at the Emergency Management Agency office through Monday. The vehicles are a 1998 Ford Taurus, a 2004 Chevrolet Impala and a 2004 Ford Explorer, each with odometer readings exceeding 100,000 miles.
The commissioners awarded a contract for seal coating work on the roads at Pine Ridge Park in Burrell Township to Quaker Sales of Johnstown,. The cost of $19,298.25 will be covered through the liquid fuels program.
The commissioners also appointed John Somonick of Indiana to the county's planning commission for a term expiring in January 2016.
Greg Reinbold is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2913 or email@example.com.
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.