Marr Development Breaks Ground on New Townhome Development Outside Berwick

(L-R): Fred Gaffney, president, Columbia Montour Chamber; Holly Morrison, CEO, Central Susquehanna Community Foundation and Chamber board member; Troy Prutzman, supervisor, Briar Creek Township; Susan McGarry, ArchCentral Architects, Inc.; Dave Kovach, Columbia County Commissioner; Nancy Marr, president, Marr Development; Dan Good, vice president, Marr Development; Josh Hoagland, Crossroads Group; Elaine Woodland, president, First Keystone Community Bank and Chamber board member

Officials from Marr Development, the Chamber, local elected officials and others involved with the project gathered on Tuesday, May 21 for a ceremonial groundbreaking for Marr Development’s new luxury townhome development at the corner of Martzville and Kachinka Hollow Rds. in Briar Creek Township.

This project will feature 14 units that can be built with customized layouts and finishes. Standard features will include either 3 or 4 bedroom options, 2.5 or 3.5 bathrooms, and 1 or 2 garage models. The building project is being financed by First Keystone Community Bank, with ArchCentral Architects serving as the architect and designer.

More information about this project is available on this flyer. For additional information about the project, contact Marr Development at 570-416-0570.

PA Chamber Responds to Wolf “Restore PA” Push

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

Last week Gov. Tom Wolf held a press event in support of “Restore PA,” an initiative that would float a $4.5 billion bond to spend a few billion dollars on local projects now and be paid back over decades through higher energy taxes.  In response, PA Chamber President Gene Barr issued the following statement:

“While the PA Chamber agrees infrastructure development should be a priority, punitive energy taxes are not the best means to achieve this goal.  One of Pennsylvania’s greatest advantages is our affordable and accessible energy supply.  We are at risk of losing this competitive edge if state elected officials continue to call for higher energy taxes as a way to spend more government money. 

 “It’s important to note, despite tax proponents claims, the industry already pays state taxes.  In addition to paying one of the highest corporate tax rates in the country, the industry also pays the impact fee – which is unique to Pennsylvania.  Since it was enacted, the impact fee has generated nearly $1.7 billion, which has gone to every county across the state and has helped to fund critical local projects.

 “The administration has repeatedly touted the projects in the ‘Restore PA’ initiative as necessary for the public good.  As such, it shouldn’t fall on the back of one industry to pay for them.  We encourage policymakers to pursue pro-growth economic policies that will leverage our assets into greater opportunities for all Pennsylvanians. The Forge the Future economic analysis estimates this could mean more than 100,000 new jobs and billions in new state tax revenue as our energy and manufacturing sectors grow.”

Berwick Improvement Projects Discussed

Rick Vilello, DCED Deputy Secretary of Community Affairs & Development (left), recently toured downtown Berwick with local officials including Damien Scoblink, Borough Manager, and Paul Macknosky, DCED Northeast Regional Director.

A number of projects to enhance the downtown area of Berwick were discussed during a recent walking tour with state and local officials. Rick Vilello, Deputy Secretary of Community Affairs & Development with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), reviewed efforts to remove blighted properties and bring new development and investment to the community. Representatives of Berwick Borough, Columbia County, SEDA-COG, and the Berwick: The Next Step steering committee, including the Chamber, participated.

The Borough has been proactive in demolishing a number of blighted properties using available funds. Community Strategies Group, which received the Chamber’s Community Progress Award this year, has constructed new housing in formerly blighted properties in the Borough’s West End. The organization is also exploring other development, including commercial and recreational projects, in the downtown area.

Vilello and other officials on the tour suggested potential funding sources. The Deputy Secretary is experienced in these areas, having owned Vilello Building Inspections for over 17 years and having served as the Mayor of Lock Haven for 15 years before going to work for DCED in 2015. While the Department may not have the resources to assist with all of the projects discussed, Vilello pledged that agency staff would help to make the right connections in support the efforts to enhance Berwick.

NEPIRC Announces Grants for Regional Manufacturers


Through PA MAKES, an initiative funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission, NEPIRC is offering regional manufacturers grants of up to $10,000 to cover 50% of the costs of process improvement, industry certification, market diversification, advanced manufacturing technology and other growth-focused consulting engagements. Companies within NEPIRC’s 11 counties are encouraged to pursue these easy-to-qualify grants to expand and grow. NEPIRC Business Advisors stand ready to assist manufacturers with fewer than 250 employees in securing these grants.

For additional details, see below or check out NEPIRC’s website, and for more information, contact Eric Joseph Esoda, NEPIRC’s President & CEO, or Dale Parmenteri, NEPIRC’s Vice President of Consulting Operations, or at

The ARC PA MAKES Mini-Grant Program is funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission and features grants available only through local Industrial Resource Centers, including NEPIRC. The PA MAKES Mini-Grant Program is designed to assist manufacturers within regions of Pennsylvania that were once dependent upon the “coal economy” diversify and grow. As such, the mini-grants are intended to support small and medium sized manufacturers in their strategic efforts to increase production capacity, improve efficiencies and increase revenue. Ideally, those efforts will stimulate job creation and drive economic impact.

Funding Availability
Applicants may request a grant up to 50% of the total consultant costs, up to a maximum of $10,000 of grant funds, for eligible projects. This includes projects in Continuous Improvement, Industry Certification, E-Commerce/Security, Strategic Planning and other diversification and growth initiatives. Awards will be made on a first come, first served basis with priority given to first-time applicants. Mini-grant dollars may be used to support direct, project-related consulting costs, contracted services and similar one-time costs related to the implementation of the proposed project.

Program Eligibility
Applicants requesting mini-grant assistance through this program must meet all of the criteria listed below to be eligible for funding consideration:

• Be a privately held small to medium sized manufacturer, with fewer than 250 employees at the facility in which the project will be performed, located within NEPIRC’s 11 counties.
• Have not received a PA MAKES grant in the past.
• Have completed, or be willing to complete, a business assessment by NEPIRC to ensure that the proposed project will have strategic and meaningful impact.
• Provide at least a 50% match to total project cost. That is, applicants must be able to cover the total project costs until grant reimbursement is issued.
• Submit reasonable project paperwork upon request to allow reimbursement (ex: proof of payment to consultant, copy of consultant invoice, etc…).
• The proposed project must be complete by November 30, 2019.
• Participate in post-award survey to collect information on project status, economic impacts, and other information as requested.

Members Enjoy Cookout, Check Out Vehicles at Ken Pollock Ford Lincoln Business After Hours

Ken Pollock Ford Lincoln was the host for May’s Chamber Business After Hours on Thursday, May 9, and as they have done for previous Chamber and other community events (not to mention good deals on vehicles), they did not disappoint.

Attendees once again enjoyed a cookout courtesy of Damon’s in Hazleton (owned by the Ken Pollock Auto Group) as well as drinks while enjoying a warm mid-spring afternoon of catching up with fellow members and checking out Ken Pollock’s large selection of new and preowned vehicles, which included the Ford Mustang on display in the main showroom (above). This was also the first Chamber event at the dealership since the completion of the remodel of the showroom, which gave it a new modern look and feel.

Business After Hours provide regular opportunities to build business relationships while learning about the services offered by other Chamber members. The next Business After Hours will also be held in Berwick, at Atlantic Broadband, located at 911 North Market St., Berwick, on Wednesday, June 19, from 4:30-6:30 p.m.