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RDA to take on new responsibilities

The Warren County Redevelopment Authority is on the cusp of taking on some additional responsibilities.

One will drastically alter the authority’s operations while the other is more of a formality.

The RDA has agreed to be the signatory on the permit between the county and the Allegheny National Forest regarding the Grunderville Landfill.

Commissioner Jeff Eggleston called it a “temporary solution” until a proposed Recreation and Conservation Authority can be established. The only real responsibility will be paying to mow the landfill cap every couple years.

While it’s a simple act on the part of the RDA it remains one of few administrative steps remaining before the landfill is closed in the eyes of the state.

“That will untether the closure fund,” Eggleston said, which currently stands at $470,000 and will be released to the county once final closure certifications are obtained.

The RDA then shifted discussions to the proposed formation of a landbank which would take the current RDA and invest it with landbank powers, additional tools to be able to combat blight and return properties to productive uses.

While the RDA has a few months to hammer out the details, Eggleston was clear on the impact this will bring to the RDA.

“This is going to completely change everything we do here,” he said.

While members were asked to review draft documentation before providing feedback, RDA member Chuck Barone asked how the landbank will be financed.

Eggleston said the county commissioners have committed $15,000 annually for three years.

“That’s a start,” he said. “There’s other grant funds that are available” along with federal CDBG opportunities as well as future tax revenue from these properties that gets rolled back in. “All of those things will kind of get mixed together in order to address this.”

Four specific properties were before the RDA for action on Tuesday.

Three were tabled — two are involved with a police investigation and the third, 58 Bush Ln., Limestone Twp., presents a potentially tricky ownership situation to settle.

No progress has been made against 1465 Rt. 62 in Pleasant Twp. The authority agreed to direct Solicitor Andrea Stapleford to send a letter to the owner regarding the statue of the property.

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