Union County has been awarded a $300,000 grant to install a publicly accessible bathroom and hand washing facility at Hufnagle Park in Lewisburg.

County Commissioner Chairman Preston Boop said they are pleased with the grant award and noted that the restroom is needed at the park.

“The Commissioners are pleased that Lewisburg Borough, working through SEDA-COG with the county’s support, was awarded this grant,” Boop said. “The addition of public restrooms at Hufnagel Park is a needed and welcome enhancement of this downtown park that is enjoyed by residents and visitors of all ages.”

The grant is from the Community Development Block Grant-CARES Act (CDBG-CV) funding to help communities address challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the first time the county has been awarded a competitive CDBG in a decade.  Lewisburg Borough also will use CDBG-CV Entitlement funds and local funding as part of this project.

The park has a playground and a gazebo used for community events but lacks a public restroom. With increased outdoor recreation during the pandemic, the park is getting more use. It also is near the downtown district of Market Street. The grant will allow park visitors along with downtown shoppers and diners access to a public bathroom to allow hand washing and sanitizing to help stop the community spread of COVID-19.

The new bathroom facilities will be built in compliance with the borough’s floodplain ordinance, designed to be accessible to all visitors, and constructed to service the large number of people who come to the park for events, school trips/classes, and recreation.

Lewisburg Borough Manager William Lowthert described the restroom’s importance, especially at this time.

“A bathroom facility in Hufnagle Park has been a priority of Lewisburg Borough Council for many years,” Lowthert said. “With the onset of COVID-19, the ability for our visitors to have easy access to a public restroom and hand washing facility became even more important.”

SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG) assisted the county with its application and is administering the grant.

SEDA-COG’s Community Development program administers 14 CDBG contracts for 28 communities. Over 35 years, the program has secured $120 billion for over 1,000 projects with its 12 dedicated staff.

SEDA-COG enhances the quality of life and economic advantage for residents and businesses in 11 central Pennsylvania counties through its vital partnerships and initiatives. SEDA-COG also is an advocate for the interests of its communities at the state and federal levels. For more information, visit www.seda-cog.org.