Columbia Borough has received $1 million in grant funding to begin early site preparation and infrastructure work on a former airport property the borough purchased in August.
The borough announced this summer that it had purchased the 58-acre former McGinness airport property with the intention of redeveloping the space to attract STEM-oriented industries and advanced manufacturing companies.
The project is part of a greater strategy by the borough to bring additional funding into Columbia without increasing millage rates for current residents. The future “innovation and technology campus” would also bring new residents into the borough with highly skilled jobs, the borough wrote in a release on Monday.
The $1 million in grant funds given to the borough by the state Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) will help the borough pay for engineering and site plans, including initial costs to get utilities on site and prepare for access roads. The money will also be used to support demolition of any remaining airport structures.
“This is another key step in our early redevelopment efforts and preparing the property for shovel-ready sites for future tenants and driving new tax revenue into the borough,” said Heather Zink, Columbia Borough Council president.
The McGinness property is one of several projects meant to stimulate the borough’s economy and bring in new residents. Earlier this month, Lancaster developer Eberly Myers broke ground on a 33-unit multifamily apartment building, the first of its kind in years.
“We might look back and say this was part of the beginning of Columbia’s renaissance,” said Bill Kloidt, executive director of the Columbia Economic Development Corporation. “The McGinness property will create an abundance of new jobs and these employees will need to eat lunch and the employers will need to entertain clients over lunch, and hopefully they will all come into our downtown to satisfy these needs.”