Officials continue search for Tyrone motel site

Tyrone and other officials met last month to continue to look for possible sites for a downtown motel while another potential site has essentially been removed from the picture.
Former Mayor Patricia Stoner was appointed in October 2005 as a liaison for the borough regarding the possible motel, Streetscape and certain other projects. She was at Monday’s council meeting and informed members the long-talked about 900 block of Pennsylvania was no longer an option.
Current Mayor Jim Kilmartin told The Daily Herald the major stumbling block was that the property owners were unwilling to sell to make way for the development of the motel site.
Kilmartin said of the 900 block, “We’d love to revisit it, but the property owners aren’t interested.”
The mayor said he along with Stoner, Borough Manager Sharon Dannaway, councilman Jim Grazier and officials from the Altoona Blair County Development Corporation and the Department of Community and Economic Development met on March 27 to discuss the motel and look at possible sites. Kilmartin said he could not reveal what the potential sites where since nothing had been decided.
“We were looking through the downtown area and we don’t want to lose the historic value and what we have to offer there,” said Kilmartin. “We want to work with what we have and we want to bring this in.”
He said the borough wants to “make it look its best downtown” and bring the motel here “in the most efficient way possible.”
The borough, through the efforts of ABCD, has been seeking $650,000 in grant money from DCED to prepare a site for the development of the motel.
An application for the $650,000 was submitted in October 2004 to DCED’s Housing and Rehabilitation Assistance program for the purpose of acquisition and demolition of properties. A DCED spokesperson told The Daily Herald yesterday that the department’s records show the application is still pending. He said he could not confirm the amount of the application or when it might be approved.
In January of 2005, ABCD’s Patrick Miller said other smaller funding in the amount of $33,100 was approved through the Pennsylvania Financing Authority for predevelopment aspects for a motel site. Those funds were secured through the Business in Our Sites program. He said if the $650,000 was approved by DCED, his organization planned to apply for more funding through the Business in Our Sites program to complete predevelopment aspects including acquisition, demolition and additional site preparation.
Kilmartin said he had to refrain from revealing who the potential developers are at this point. He said DCED would have to give its consent for the motel site, which would have to meet their standards since they would be providing funding for site development if the grant is approved.