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Pantry project moving forward

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HONESDALE, PA — It looks like the funding and bids have finally come together for a long-planned bi-county food pantry project in Newfoundland.

On March 28, Wayne County Commissioners’ Chief Clerk Vicky Botjer announced that she had received email confirmation of grant funding that would cover construction costs.

In April of 2017, the Commonwealth Finance Authority announced grants for Wayne County, including $136,000 for a collaboration with Pike County to create space, through the expansion of a Dreher Township municipal building, to house the Newfoundland Area Pantry program.

In February of 2018, the commissioners were disappointed by two second-round bids for the food pantry project. Both bids, while lower than the first round, exceeded $189,000 while only $138,000 in Local Share Account gaming funding has been allocated. The bids were forwarded to the county engineer for review and subsequently rejected.

Another round of bidding took place this February for the pantry project. This time, Grimm Construction of Waymart provided the apparent low bids for the base building construction ($164,253) and alternate flooring ($10,684), while Reinfurt Excavating of Honesdale was the apparent low excavation bid ($49,500) and an alternate for additional parking ($20,400).

Botjer said the commissioners would now be able to award project contracts at their April 4 meeting. “With six townships in the joint service area, this is a good example of regional cooperation,” she said.

In other business, the commissioners authorized Botjer as their administrator for a newly received U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to study the feasibility of a dairy processing plant in Wayne County. The idea was one of the action plans in Wayne Tomorrow’s Economic Development Plan for Agriculture released in February. USDA will fund $34,767, and the county will cover the remainder of the $43,567 project.

The commissioners also approved a letter of support for NEP Sno Trails, which is seeking $64,000 in equipment grant funding from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

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