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SHARON Company gets loan from city for rehab

By Harold Gwin

Friday, January 23, 2004

The loan will be forgiven if the company stays in the building five years.
SHARON, Pa. -- The city will give a company, Comprehensive Children and Family Services, a $135,000 deferred loan to help renovate the building it will occupy at the corner of East State and Dock streets.
The money was initially supposed to be a straight grant from the city's federal 2004 Community Development Block Grant, but city council wanted some assurances that the business would stay at that location for more than a year or two.
The issue came up for a vote at council's meeting Thursday, and President Fred Hoffman suggested a loan instead, structured the same as city housing rehabilitation loans from the same federal program source.
Forgiving the loan
Each year for five years, 20 percent of the loan will be forgiven. At the end of five years, Comprehensive Children and Family Services won't owe anything.
Should the building be sold or the company move out before that time, a portion of the loan would have to be repaid.
Jack Monaco, company president, noting that he is under a time constraint to move into the building, agreed to the change on the spot, and council voted to approve the loan.
Getting the money is still contingent on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's approving the project as part of the city's 2004 CDBG budget.
Rosette Fisher, director of the city's community development department, said the only CDBG requirement is that the money be used to create jobs for at least four low-to-moderate-income city residents.
Renovation costs
Monaco said the city funds will be used to offset the cost of renovating the building, which used to house legal offices.
Some interior renovations, refacing the building's exterior eastern wall and other improvements will be done at a cost estimated between $235,000 and $315,000.
Monaco said he recently bought the building to move his company from its leased facilities at 1260 E. State St.
The five-year-old company, which provides mental health services for children and families, has 100 employees working in Mercer, Lawrence, Butler and Beaver counties. Nearly all will be paying wage taxes in Sharon, he said.
There are plans to expand operations over the next five years to include different mental health programs that should boost the number of employees to 200, Monaco said.
Parking concerns
Council members expressed concern that parking might be a problem because the building has no parking lot nor is parking allowed on the street in front of it.
Monaco said there will be only 15-20 people there on a full-time basis. Other employees and clients will be in and out of the building, he said.
Monaco said he plans to move to the building in late February.