By Holly Riddle
Anthony Fragola is a College Township Council Member and a local entrepreneur. The owner of Fibrenew Alleghenies has served the Happy Valley community in some capacity for nearly two decades. Fragola told us there’s ample opportunity for business growth in the area, with opportunities for both existing companies that want to move to the area as well as entrepreneurs who want to launch a new venture. College Township, he said, is ready to support both.
Beneath the township’s umbrella is an organization that Fragola called one of the area’s “best-kept secrets” for business: the College Township Industrial Development Authority.
The College Township Industrial Development Authority, according to Fragola, is essentially an economic development authority. The authority was chartered by the township in 1972, and the charter was recently renewed for another 50 years. In its early existence, the authority acted as an incubator with a home base in what is now the Dale Summit Area. Today, the authority partners with Ben Franklin, the Penn State Small Business Development Center, SCORE and other organizations to provide business assistance or point businesses in the right direction to get the resources they need.
“We have monies that we can use to assist in lending, or we can partner with a variety of financial institutions and help entrepreneurs get over the finish line, if they’re having difficulty getting a loan. We offer a nominal interest rate,” explained Fragola. “We really want to encourage business growth, business development and entrepreneurs in the area.”
More broadly, he said the Township is placing priority around the Dale Summit Area (which encompasses the site of the former Corning plant that was closed in the early 2000s and the Nittany Mall), with its Dale Summit Redevelopment Plan.
“We continue to look at ordinances and zoning and… what we can do to allow certain businesses to come and fill empty spaces…” he said.
College Township Council in conjunction with the College Township Planning Commission is also continuing to review and update a master pedestrian plan to increase the Township’s walkability and cycling, as Fragola noted, “Businesses, when they come in and look at the area, want to make sure that people can get to where they are with ease, whether that’s with public transportation, riding a bike, walking or driving.”