Orwigsburg Awarded Competitive Tax Credits for Independence Square Project

ORWIGSBURG – State officials recently announced Orwigsburg Borough will receive tax credits for the conversion of the former Fessler Knitting Mill into housing for senior citizens and new space for the local library.

The Independence Square project, located at 216 W. Independence Street, will turn a two-story abandoned knitting mill into 20 apartments for senior citizens. Specifically, the project calls for 13 one-bedroom apartments and 7 two-bedroom apartments. The project will also provide a new space for the borough’s library.

“Orwigsburg is a most fortunate beneficiary of the diligent guidance provided by Senator Argall along with the assistance of Representative Jerry Knowles in securing the funding critical to making Independence Square a reality,” Orwigsburg Mayor Berger said. “The renovation of this building to provide affordable elderly housing and new quarters for the Orwigsburg Area Free Public Library is a highly viable alternative to permitting its fall into disrepair.”

“This is a great example of teamwork to secure much-needed tax credits for a program supported by the community,” Senator David G. Argall (R-29) said. “As chairman of the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee, I know how important these funds can be for communities in fighting blight and urban decay.”

The project was one of 20 that was awarded out of 75 total applicants across Pennsylvania.

“This project will make an enormous impact in the ongoing need for affordable housing for our elderly residents in the Orwigsburg area,” Representative Jerry Knowles (R-124) said. “This funding and the approved tax credits will help this project become a reality.”

“I am very happy that our project has been selected for funding. I appreciate the work done by Craig Shields and his team and the support from Senator Argall and Representative Knowles,” Borough Manager Mike Lonergan said.

“The project absolutely would not have been done without the help of Senator Argall, Representative Knowles, Borough Manager Mike Lonergan, and Champ Holman of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development,” Craig Shields of Barefield Development Corporation said. “This project was done because of our officials. They pushed it through for us and without a doubt, it would not have happened without them.”

Orwigsburg Library President Greg Stewart offered details of the future plans for the library.

“The library was included as a part of the application and preliminary plans. We have to work through the final details but we are excited about the opportunity. If the library moves to the new location, we would anticipate the move could happen sometime in early 2016 after Barefield performs their necessary renovations on the building and library builds its defined space. This project affords the library the opportunity to secure a long term home without a monthly rent obligation. We are also able to apply for grants in which we are required to own our space. The increased space will allow us to better serve our patrons. In addition to providing a fresh new environment for our existing services, we are looking at adding individual study areas, a large meeting area and sufficient work areas for staff and volunteers.”

The total cost of the project is $7,019,573, with $5,042,469 of the project coming through tax credits from the Pennsylvania Housing Financing Authority.

Officials plan on holding a groundbreaking ceremony later this year.

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