COUDERSPORT — Galeton is applying for the competitive portion of the Community Development Block Grant to make repairs to its wastewater treatment plant, after Potter County Commissioners approved a resolution during Thursday’s meeting.

The grant they’re seeking is $1 million for Galeton’s wastewater treatment plant, Director of Community Development Ellen Russell said. Galeton received an entitlement grant for fiscal year 2020 for about $360,000.

“But that’s not enough money to finish their project, so they’re doing it in phases and getting the competitive grant will allow them to complete … all three phases, hopefully,” Russell said.

Originally, the borough was going to apply for $2 million but after a further review of what is available for funding, the entire state has about $4-5 million available for competitive grants, and Galeton was advised to lower their request.

Commissioner Paul Heimel said Galeton’s wastewater treatment plant requires some expensive repairs. It also creates environmental hazards.

When the plant overflows, it “ushers pollution” into the west branch of the Pine Creek. With this in mind, Galeton sought out comments and support from environmental and stewardage organizations in hopes it will push their grant application ahead of others.

Commissioner Barry Hayman reported Potter, with Tioga and Bradford counties, have moved forward with phase three of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan. Pine Creek and the Cowanesque River are Potter’s biggest contributors to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The goal is to address the issue of nutrient and sediment pollution.

In his commissioner report, Heimel said the county has created a tourism and recreation work group. Representatives from state parks, state forestry, the lumber museum and others will sit at the table to “better understand how the coronavirus has changed travel and tourism patterns.”

“There are significant changes taking place, including a huge increase in visiting our state parks and state forests and state facilities here,” Heimel said. “People want to get out to the country.”

This will work hand-in-hand with Revitalize Potter County, a plan and work group dedicated to reversing the county’s steady population loss and to retain more of the younger residents the county has by the year 2025.

Once people “get a little taste of Potter County” and find out they can access broadband, they might want to stay longer, visit more often or even move here with families, Heimel said.

This will also allow the county to interact with Visit Potter-Tioga, the tourist promotion agency, and continue to market the area and understand what brings tourists in.

Potter County Commissioners will meet again 11 a.m. Jan. 28, following a retirement board meeting.

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