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With Broadband Grant Process Set to Ramp Up, County Prepared to “Advocate” for Municipalities –

CLEARFIELD – More information will soon be available on broadband infrastructure grants, announced Clearfield County Commissioner Dave Glass on Tuesday.

Four fiber-optic projects that will improve the county’s broadband access and high-speed internet were approved April 18 by the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority.

The $204 million Broadband Infrastructure Program (BIP) funded by the ARPA Capital Projects Fund resulted in 53 project awards, affecting 42 counties state-wide.

The four awards affecting Clearfield County were submitted by Verizon Pennsylvania LLC and supported by the Clearfield County Commissioners.

A majority of project work will take place in Clearfield County, but will also include work in Blair, Centre, Huntingdon, Indiana and Cambria counties.

The total estimated cost of the projects is $47.1 million, with grants totaling $21.4 million awarded, and Verizon has pledged to pay the remaining $25 million.

BIP projects are required by statute to be complete by Dec. 31, 2026. The PBDA anticipates project work to begin later this summer in many cases.

The next round though is a “much bigger pot,” said Glass of the $1.4 billion ‘BEAD’ grant program, which will “ramp up quickly” in the coming months with the grant application process likely to start in late summer or early fall.

The county wants to meet with municipalities because state officials want to ensure all municipalities—but particularly smaller municipalities—have an “advocate,” he said.

“And, we are willing to be their advocate—if that’s what they want—and be that front-line point of contact with internet service providers (ISPs).”

Glass hopes to have enough municipalities “broadband ready” that it will set the county apart and give it a competitive advantage over other grant applicants.

In other business, the commissioners:

  • approved the application for the Stop the Violence Against Women Formula Grant—a competitive federal grant totaling $125,000 that, if awarded, would enhance the services provided by the District Attorney and Victim Witness offices, as well as equip local law enforcement. Grant awards are expected to be announced in September.
  • proclaimed May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.
  • approved a linkage agreement with Beacon Light Behavioral Health System and Beacon Light Adult Residential Services.
  • ratified a purchase of service agreement with Woodlands Program.
  • approved advertising the sale of property owned by Clearfield County on Leonard Street in Clearfield.
  • approved a purchase of service agreement with The Bair Foundation.
  • approved the personnel report consisting of six new hires and two employee leaves of absence.
  • approved the minutes of the April 9 board meeting as presented by the chief clerk.
  • approved the bills as presented by the Controller’s office.
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