100-Acre Solar Farm Planned Near Pa. Turnpike

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Franklin County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Franklin County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ROXBURY, PA — A seasoned wind farmer is planning to build one of the largest solar farms on the East Coast in northern Franklin County.

Orion Renewable Energy Group LLC, based in Oakland, Calif., plans to lease parts of three hay and crop farms just south of the Blue Mountain Interchange of the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Interstate 76) and reap the sun’s rays.

The 14 megawatt project in Lurgan Township would be more than twice the size of Pennsylvania’s largest (6 MW) solar farm currently under construction in East Drumore TownshipLancaster County.  Covering about 103 acres, the photovoltaic panels would produce enough electricity to power 2,000 to 2,500 homes, according to Ed Shoener of Shoener Environmental, Dickson City.

“This is a sunny spot in Pennsylvania,” he said.  “There is a market for renewable energy in Pennsylvania.  It’s a good place to tie into the power lines and the Roxbury substation.”

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/business/mc-solar-farm-pa-turnpike-0828-20120829,0,3432039,full.story

Boyertown Cuts Ribbon On New Streetscape

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Even when dirt from Boyertown‘s downtown makeover project seemed to be keeping customers away from her Joe Paws Dog Bakery, Linda Flederbach kept a happy ending for the streetscape project in sight.

That end arrived Saturday morning with a traffic-stopping ribbon-cutting on Philadelphia Avenue.

The celebration was around the corner from Flederbach’s business on Reading Avenue but the project itself went past her front door. With it came quaint streetlights, new trees and brick ribbons – all adding to the downtown’s Victorian aesthetic.

“I feel it’s well worth it at this point, what we had to go through,” she said ahead of the ceremony.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=411392

Pennsylvania Counties Line Up For New State Block Grant Program

The Corbett administration’s plan to allow counties to use a new block grant to pay for such key social services as drug and alcohol treatment and intellectual disabilities programs was one of the most contentious proposals of this year’s budget debate.

But with the money now up for grabs, county officials have apparently gotten over their reservations.  Officials in 30 of the state’s 67 counties have applied for 20 available spots in the new block grant program.  And funding recipients are set to be announced next month, the state Department of Public Welfare said this week.

Counties have “repeatedly asked for greater flexibility in human services funding” and the new program delivers it, Public Welfare Secretary Gary Alexander said in a statement. County governments had until Aug. 17 to apply for the funding.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/mc-pa-county-human-services-20120824,0,3466616.story

Resort Plans Big Poconos Water Park

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Monroe County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Monroe County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A resort developer has its eyes on the Poconos, planning what could be the biggest project in the region’s history – a combination indoor water park, convention center and hotel.

The Wisconsin-based Kalahari Resorts is eying the site of the historic Inn at Pocono Manor for the project.

The company operates similar facilities in Sandusky, Ohio, and Wisconsin Dells, Wis., both major resort destinations. The proposal for Tobyhanna Township is massive. At a meeting with municipal officials in July, Kalahari officials said the project could include a 300,000-square-foot water park, a convention center and could employ as many as 1,500 employees.

The project is in its early stages. The company has not submitted specific plans to local officials or acquired any property or permits. Officials at Kalahari have declined to comment beyond a prepared statement about their excitement over the project. But the wheels are in motion.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/resort-plans-big-poconos-water-park-1.1360093

Gas Drilling Adds Fuel To Pittsburgh’s Resurgence

Pittsburgh, once known as America’s Steel City, is laying its Rustbelt heritage to rest by fostering growth in education and health services, while drawing strength from the booming natural-gas industry it keeps at a distance.

Drilling into Marcellus shale deposits is banned in Pittsburgh, yet hydraulic-fracturing, or fracking, operations in the countrysiSde nearby have helped bring in jobs and boost demand for office space in Pennsylvania’s second-biggest city.

“Like eds and meds, like steel once was in Pittsburgh, it would be the industry to grow and employ people and turn the economy around,” Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, 32, said of gas extraction. Nearby drilling can provide a “growth mechanism” the city can use to propel a rebound, he said. The city faced insolvency in late 2003, as the population and employment fell.

Fracking is driving wage, job and population growth, even after health concerns led the City Council to ban it, according to development officials. Wells Fargo & Co. economists recently called Pittsburgh a “logistical hub” for the industry. To fuel the boom, Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, is offering Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s biggest oil company, at least $1.65 billion in tax credits to build a gas-fed chemical plant nearby.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/pennsylvania/mc-pittsburgh-rebound-20120810,0,3805778.story

Project Offers Face-Lifts For Downtown Pittsburgh Facades

From one window, Alan Kashi can watch a 33-story glass skyscraper being built before his eyes. From another, he can drink in the elegant lines of Three PNC Plaza, the 23-story tower that opened a few years ago. He can walk a couple of doors from his property to a former five-and-dime store that harbors apartments, restaurants and retail.

Now it’s his turn to join the Downtown renaissance.

Mr. Kashi is restoring the storefronts, replacing windows and making other improvements to the buildings he manages at 254 and 256 Fifth Avenue and 445 Wood Street as part of a new program to help rejuvenate older buildings Downtown.

“We’re revitalizing Downtown. This is a very major corner, Fifth and Wood. And it’s going to really help a lot to do what is necessary to make Downtown what it should be,” he said.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/project-offers-face-lifts-for-downtown-facades-648419/?p=1

Mericle Plans To Develop 1,700 Acres Of Commercial Property

A massive development of commercial real estate is under way in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties that will open up approximately 15 million square feet of space and the opportunity to create or retain thousands of new jobs in Northeast Pennsylvania.

Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services plans to prepare more than 90 sites and build dozens of speculative commercial buildings on about 1,700 acres it owns in 10 business parks in the two counties, Mericle spokesman Jim Cummings said Thursday.

Mr. Cummings said the investment, which will cost hundreds of millions of dollars, is part of a new initiative called “Ready to Go” that will market the prepared sites for possible manufacturing, distribution, office and medical jobs. The project represents about a decade of work, he said.

The sites range from 1.15 acres to 125 acres and can accommodate companies needing buildings from less than 5,000 square feet to more than 1.4 million square feet. Filling the space will depend on the economy, Mr. Cummings said.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/business/mericle-plans-to-develop-1-700-acres-of-commercial-property-1.1353815