New Year Brings Hope to Venango County: Multi-Modal Hub, Cornplanter Square Project, Recycling Center, New and Growing Businesses

| January 3, 2019

VENANGO CO., Pa. (EYT) – New Year’s Day is a time to look forward to the fresh year ahead, and Venango County residents have some good things to anticipate in 2019.

Multi-Modal Hub Construction to Begin

According to Jason Ruggiero, Venango County Planning Director, the multi-modal hub project in downtown Oil City is expected to occur sometime this spring.

“We expect the parking agreement to be signed in a couple of weeks, then we will put the construction of the building out to bid,” Ruggiero told “The goal is to have construction started by April.”

The Multi-Modal Hub project, which was first announced over two years ago, is expected to enhance bus service and transportation throughout the Venango County while supporting efforts to brings jobs and new life into the downtown Oil City area.

Cornplanter Square Project Moving Forward

The first phase of the abatement and selected demolition of parts of the Cornplanter Square Building to remove mold, asbestos, and lead paint could begin as soon as later this month, according to Ruggiero.

“It is a big step forward for a building that has been vacant for so long with so many issues,” Ruggiero told

“That has held others back from investing in the building, all the environmental problems with mold, asbestos, and lead paint. Getting those issues taken care of will be a really big step forward.”

According to Ruggiero, the first phase of the abatement and selected demolition has already been put out to bid and depending on how quickly a bid is accepted and work begun, the project could be completed in about six months.

Current plans for the building include having the first two floors be a brewpub and banquet facility owned and operated by a private entity and then the third, fourth, and fifth floors to be a business incubator program run by the county.

Construction to Begin on New Recycling Center

Construction on a new recycling center to be built in Cranberry Township with the help of a $345,502.00 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) could also begin in 2019, according to Ruggiero.

“We hope to break ground on it this year, as well,” Ruggiero said.

“This will be a big step forward to help all of our county residents. We expect it will be accessible to everyone and more convenient than the current situation we have now.”

According to Ruggiero, the new recycling center will be able to handle not only common recyclables like plastic, glass bottles, and cans, but also special collections of items such as electronics, old tires, refrigerators, dehumidifiers, and household hazardous wastes like paints and chemicals.

“When people consider coming to the area, moving to the area, these are the kinds of amenities they are looking for,” Ruggiero noted earlier this year. “Being able to recycle and dispose of electronics, these are things people from bigger areas are used to. When we don’t have them, we are not as competitive as a community.”

Franklin Students to Travel to National Academic Games Tournament

Two Franklin High School students will be traveling to Orlando, Florida, this spring to compete in the National Academic Games Tournament.

Senior Sam Burchfield and Junior David Ferraro were two of the eleven players representing Franklin in the On-sets tournament, where they qualified for the National Tournament.

They will take part in the National Tournament beginning on April 26 and running through April 29.

Community Services of Venango County to Provide New Services

Community Services of Venango County (CSVC), a local nonprofit aimed at growing opportunities for local individuals and families in need, has several new programs heading into 2019.

The Car Seat Loaner program through Community Services of Venango County is a program for families of young children in need of proper car seats. Through the program, people who need a car seat, including infant car seats, convertible car seats, combination car seats, and booster seats, can get one on loan at Community Services’ Rocky Grove site. The program also has a car seat technician available on-site to help with installation and to make sure caregivers know how to keep children properly buckled up.

Community Services of Venango County is also now offering opportunities for children in need to get bikes through the Lizzy’s Bikes program, a nonprofit organization that seeks to provide new or next-to-new bicycles to children of economically disadvantaged families. CSVC is collaborating with Lizzy’s Bikes to provide bikes to children in Venango County, Meadville, and Titusville. For more information, contact CSVC at 814-676-5011.

New Store to Open and Local Businesses Growing

A new secondhand store and donation center will open in the former Salvation Army location in Sugarcreek.

According to Ellen Gierlach, “Gems Donation Station,” a new locally operated non-profit, hopes to open its doors sometime in the early part of the new year and provide reasonably priced secondhand goods to the local community while using the proceeds to support other local nonprofit organizations that serve those in need.

“There’s just so much need in our county,” Gierlach said.

Gierlach has planned for the store to be much like the former Salvation Army thrift store, with everything from clothing to household goods and furniture for sale, but she also wants to add a few new items to her new venture, including space for consignment, vendors, and even construction salvage.

Though an opening date has not yet been announced, Gierlach has been hard at work procuring everything the business needs to get started and hopes to be able to begin serving the local community soon.

And, while Gierlach prepares to open a new business, other established businesses are also continuing to grow, according to Susan Williams, Executive Director of the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce.

“We’ve heard from business across the community that they’re growing and opportunity abounds,” Williams told

“That’s what I’m most hopeful about from a business perspective. We know there will absolutely be new businesses opening in the coming year. There has never been a better time to become specialized: people want experts, they’re getting tired of do-it-yourself, and they want people who know what they’re doing.”

“Reflecting on the successes of the last year only makes me more optimistic about 2019.”

Growing Tourist Attractions in Franklin

Franklin Provides Warm Welcome for New Microbrewery

TrAils to Ales Brewery opened its doors to the public on Friday, June 1, and patrons showed up by the hundreds in support of Franklin’s first and only microbrewery.

TrAils to Ales is located at 1270 Liberty Street, Franklin, Pa.

Co-owner Dave Ballard said that he could not have been more happy with the turn out as TrAils to Ales opened their doors for the first time after months of preparation.

R Bandana Winery Opens New Location in Franklin

R Bandana Winery Franklin has moved to a new location on Liberty Street and opened in May of 2018.

Their new location is 1276 Liberty Street, Franklin, Pa.

Owner Kate Hall told, “Red Bandana has growing pains and is now moving to a space in Franklin three times the size, outdoor seating and longer hours!”

“Our atmosphere of cozy, eclectic with the embodiment of wine, art, and music, we are a true destination. Passion being the fuel and inspiration, our goal is to bring the experience to a new level.”

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