Bank moving ahead with Franklin branch plans

 Clarion County Community Bank is moving forward on its plans for a Franklin branch.

The plans call for a 3,600-square-foot full-service bank along Elk Street. Construction is expected to cost an estimated $772,000.

That price doesn’t include purchasing three derelict properties on Elk Street slated for demolition. They include the two-story Machault office building and two residential rental properties.

Franklin code enforcement officer Chuck Gibbons indicated in March that the properties weren’t safe for occupancy and demolition was a viable option.

The bank is currently operating out of the old Film Fest Video building at 1281 Otter St., which will also be demolished when it moves into its new property.

“We just fixed it up and put some cubicles and so forth inside there.” James L. Kifer, president and CEO of Clarion County Community Bank, said. “It doesn’t look too bad … it will just be a temporary site to get open to start doing some business.”

Clarion County Community Bank had already operated a loan production office in Franklin.

“We’ve hired a complete staff in the temporary building and they are working out of there at this point.,” Kifer said.

The bank brought in five new employees to work out of the video store location and brought two more over from the loan production office on Liberty Street.

The bank hopes to have the new branch up and running by summer 2017, Kifer said.

“Construction nowadays is not an easy thing to do, there’s a lot of things to take care of,” Kifer said, adding that the bank hopes demolition on the Machault building can begin in October.

“We are collecting bids right now,” he said.

Kifer said construction of the new branch probably won’t begin until spring.