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Columbia Borough is partnering with CHI St. Joseph Children’s Health to revamp the Columbia Market House building and reinstate a farmers market with a restaurant. The farmers market that previously operated in the building closed in 2017.

A project that Columbia Mayor Leo Lutz sees as the “cornerstone” of the borough’s downtown economic development and revitalization strategy is receiving a boost from a state grant program.

Columbia Borough has been approved to receive $1.75 million for renovations to Columbia Market House and the creation of additional downtown parking.

The money comes from Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Grant program. Columbia’s project is one of six in the county that received a total of $4.95 million in the program’s most recent funding round.

Administered through the Office of the Budget, the grants must be matched with an equivalent or greater dollar amount from local sources — thus, in Columbia’s case, the total budget would be at least $3.5 million.

The borough intends to redevelop the Market House, built in 1869, in partnership with CHI St. Joseph Children’s Health. It is expected to house a farmers market and restaurant and host community activities.

The goal is to open in June 2020, CHI St. Joseph President Philip Goropoulos said.

The budget yet to be finalized. CHI St. Joseph’s contribution involves equipping the market’s restaurant and stands.

Funds left over from the market renovations would go toward downtown parking, Mayor Lutz said. The specifics haven’t been worked out yet, but the goal would be to support private-sector development.

Private partners other than CHI St. Joseph could be involved, Lutz said. Any funding not from the grant or private sources would come from the borough, he said.

Cleft Palate Clinic and other projects

Another $1.2 million from the state grant program will go to the Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic, which is planning a top-to-bottom renovation of its quarters at 223 N. Lime St. in the city to serve more patients.

The clinic anticipates raising at least $1.8 million to go with the grant funds and hopes to start renovations by the end of the year, executive director Elizabeth Prada said.

The patient care area will expand to take up all 9,000 square feet of the main floor, while the 5,000 square foot lower level will become staff offices and meeting space.

The nonprofit not only treats oral abnormalities but provides dental care to children with specialized health needs of all types. It is the oldest clinic of its type in the world.

Four other projects in the county were approved for $500,000 each:

  • City of Lancaster: Replacement of Fire Stations No. 1 (425 W. King St.) and No. 3 (333 E. King St.).
  • Property Investing & Management: Infrastructure for Ephrata Crossing, a mixed-use development planned at the intersection of Route 322 and Pleasant Valley Road, Ephrata Township.
  • Spartan Motors: Renovations and equipment purchases to enable expanded production of commercial truck bodies at Spartan’s plant in West Earl Township.
  • Treasures Markets: Renovation of 515 N. Franklin St., Lancaster, to create a discount grocery and thrift store, along with warehouse and logistics support.