Cresson – May 4, 2016 – At a news conference held on the site of the idled Cresson prison today, Sen. John Wozniak and key officials described major steps toward the redevelopment of the property and the creation of new jobs.
Wozniak, along with key state and local officials, announced a development agreement to convey nearly 100 acres of the former prison property along with a plan to market the remainder of the property for sale and redevelopment.
The property is being conveyed to the Cambria County Redevelopment Authority.
State Department of General Services Secretary Curt Topper joined Wozniak (D-Cambria/Bedford/Clearfield) and a host of county and local officials to make the series of announcements concerning the future of the site.
“Thanks to the focused efforts of Secretary Topper and his staff, we are beginning the process of ushering in development of this site,” Wozniak said. “We have put a process in place to move pieces of the property and to bring the remainder to the market so that this site can be a regional economic driver.
“Our region had the rug pulled out from underneath it when the facility was abruptly closed several years ago. We need to turn the page and move this project forward.”
Wozniak said he was encouraged that so much ground has been covered in a short period of time. Last September, Wozniak convened a meeting with Topper, a number of Gov. Tom Wolf’s cabinet members, state Reps. Frank Burns (D-Cambria), Bryan Barbin (D-Cambria), Tommy Sankey (R-Cambria) plus county commissioners and officials from Cresson Township and Cresson Borough to devise a plan to redevelop the former prison.
“Late last year we met to find out what the options were relative to this property,” Wozniak said. “The meeting allowed state and local officials to identify problems and issues and helped us get to where we are today.”
Legislation (Senate Bill 1192) sponsored by Wozniak to provide a public access route to the site – which is integral to the repurposing of the entire facility – was also unveiled at the event. In addition, local development officials were also on hand to generally discuss a potential business entity that has an interest in utilizing the leased property.
Wozniak said that while great strides have been made in delivering development at the site, the work is not finished. He said that he would work to push his legislation through the Senate and House and continue to pursue business leads.
In January 2013, the Corbett administration announced that SCI-Cresson would be shuttered. More than 500 jobs were lost when the facility closed its doors.