Cost to develop McGinness tech site will be over $10 million, Columbia board says | Community News

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When: City Council March 1.

What happened: The borough is to spend just over $10.5 million to develop McGinness Innovation Park, said Richard Jackson, vice president at consultancy ELA Group. Council members heard for the first time specific amounts on a grant/loan request that the borough will submit to transform the old airport into a technological site.

Details: Columbia hopes to receive about $9 million from the state program. The borough will apply for a grant of about $3.6 million and a loan of about $5.4 million from the state’s Business in Our Sites program, which helps municipalities redevelop industrial sites.

More information: The remaining $1.5 million will come from the borough and a $1 million grant already received to develop a park and nature trail on the 57-acre property. In addition, Columbia will sell several residential-zoned McGinness parcels of land.

Not: First, the borough will spend about $1 million to remove, treat and put back soil on the 34 acres that will house businesses, Borough Manager Mark Stivers said. The rest of the money will go towards building streets, installing utilities and improving storm water.

Terms: The borough has five years to repay the $5.4 million loan. Specifically, Columbia must reimburse the state approximately $158,000 for each acre sold. After five years, the state will amortize the loan over 15 years and charge 3% interest.

Plan changes: Consultants reworked the proposed streets in the park’s master plan to reduce the total cost and squeeze an additional 1.4 acres for sale, Jackson reported. Approximately 34 acres of the site’s 57 acres can be developed.

UAV: Members of the state’s Unmanned Aerial System Task Force have begun discussing a program to educate students interested in robotics and drone technology, member Todd Kishpaugh told council members. . The task force met with representatives from the Columbia Borough School District and Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology to find a path to two- and four-year post-secondary programs.

More information: Kishpaugh also runs Argos Unmanned Aerial Solutions, a Lititz-based company that offers drone services. The company said it wants to build a training center in McGinness.

Criminality: Police Chief Jack Brommer wants witnesses to speak out after the crimes. Police dealt with two recent shootings and officers encountered observers who did not want to talk.

Quoteable: “We want to partner with the community,” Brommer said. “If you witness an incident, I strongly encourage you to get involved.”

And after: The council will meet at 7 p.m. on March 8 and the meeting will be broadcast on the Borough’s Facebook page.

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