North Central makes slight business change at monthly board meeting

KERSEY – Keeping up with emerging technology is permitting a slight change in business practices for the North Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission.

The board, at its monthly meeting and retreat held Wednesday at the Red Fern in Kersey, unanimously approved a resolution allowing electronic signatures for routine contracts.

Jim Chorney, who serves as executive director at North Central, said the move will allow the organization to process paperwork more quickly as the signatures will be gathered electronically.

Chorney said the resolution was reviewed by the solicitor, who agreed the updated policy is appropriate.

Board Chairman Dave Glass, who is a Clearfield County commissioner, said it was “a good move” in regard to moving toward electronic signatures.

Amy Kessler, director of community development and regional planning, gave an update on the Greenways program. The program is run by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Kessler said that applications for the next round of mini-grants will be accepted this coming week.

“I am trying to get our finalized document all put together and have letters of support from each of the county planners encouraging the project,” Kessler said. “This resolution is the last piece and will allow us to apply to continue the mini-grant program.”

The board also approved four loans during the meeting.

Schatz Services LLC in St. Marys, a lawncare business, was approved for a $35,000 loan through the USDA/Microloan fund at a 5-year term at 5 percent interest. The lender, Loan Director Jennifer Hibbard said, is the Elk County Redevelopment Authority, who will be lending $25,000 toward the purchase of the equipment.

The funds will be used to purchase a mini excavator that would be used to accommodate growth and expand the business. The funding will retain four jobs and create two more.

Wildwoods Bar & Grill Inc., an existing full-service restaurant and bar in St. Marys, was approved for a $54,500 loan through the USDA/Intermediary Relending Program at a 4-percent interest rate over 15 years.

Funds will be used to make building improvements, including replacing the kitchen floor. The business will also put on an addition to expand kitchen capacity to include a prep area and a new dish room. The loan funding will help the business retain five jobs.

Cori D. Wagner was approved for a $75,000 EDA CARES Act relief loan at a 4-percent interest rate over 15 years to purchase the building her business, Mama Made Crafts, is currently housed in Coudersport. The loan would retain one full-time job.

Wapiti Woods Lodge LLC in Benezette was approved for a $200,000 loan through the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority at a 4-percent interest rate over 15 years. The funds would be used to construct a lodge area that would allow for eight guests. The loan would create five part-time jobs and one future part-time cleaning position.

The board also approved the resignation of Courtney Cole from the loan committee, for the purposes of retirement. The recommended replacement is Lynn Ruffner from Potter County.

Ed Matts, IT director, gave a status update on the transformation of the old conference room into new office space at the North Central offices.

He said the new construction has passed two inspections, and he hopes to have the final inspection performed during the first week of April. Plans are to staff moved into the new offices by the end of April or early May.

Chorney also introduced Brent Addleman to the board. He joined the organization in early March as Marketing and Communications Coordinator.