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County commissioners seeking $2 million for seniors, veterans center

The Butler County Courthouse in downtown Butler on Monday, Jan. 29. Kyle Prudhomme/Butler Eagle (01/29/24)
The Butler County Courthouse in downtown Butler. Butler Eagle file photo

The county commissioners on Wednesday, April 24, approved an application for a grant of up to $2 million for work at the planned Butler County Aging and Veterans Resources Center in Butler Township.

Commissioners ratified the grant application that was submitted last week to the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority.

The grant would come from a competitive program funded by the COVID-19 American Rescue Plan Act that supports multipurpose community facilities. The money originated from the federal government and was passed down to the state for distribution.

Installation of broadband service and some building renovations would be funded by the grant, said Leslie Osche, commission chairwoman.

The commissioners bought the building, the former Butler Health and Racquet Club at 215 N. Duffy Road, in 2022, with plans to make it the new home for the county’s Area Agency on Aging and Veterans Affairs offices.

The broadband internet service for computers would be used by seniors and veterans at the center, Osche said. Seeking advice for continuing to live in their homes, job searches, education, applying for benefits and health care, including telehealth, are examples of what seniors and veterans can use the internet for at the center, she said.

“Anyone coming in has access to computers and digital devices,” Osche said.

Commissioner Kevin Boozel said education about avoiding scams and phishing will be provided to seniors and veterans who use the center.

When the senior and veterans offices are closed, the county Parks and Recreation Department, which does not have it’s own indoor space, can use the building for programs, Osche said.

The parks department can also use the building for lifeguard training, said Commissioner Kim Geyer.

Osche said many entities are applying for grants from the same fund because it can be used for construction.

In other business, the commissioners awarded a $750,000 grant to the Petroleum Valley Regional Water Authority from the $36 million the county received in 2022 American Rescue Plan Act funds to develop a new water source.

The authority on Tuesday passed a resolution on the grant and agreed to borrow up to $300,000 to develop its own water source in the #4 mine at Cove Run, an inactive limestone mine owned by Bradys Bend Underground Storage in East Brady. The authority also is developing plans to build a water treatment plant.

Both moves are being made due to a rate increase from its current water provider, East Brady Borough, and issues with water quality, according to authority officials.

Boozel said the new water source will provide a better quantity and quality of water than the authority receives now, and is more economical than buying water.

Osche said the authority cannot add new homes or developments to its current system. The authority has been working on developing it’s own water system for a long time, she said.

Geyer said the new source will help the authority provide safe drinking water to its customers.

The commissioners also approved an amendment to a subdivision and land development ordinance that updates requirement for decommissioning solar and wind energy facilities.

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