Gov. Corbett’s Christmas Giveaway: $133 Million For Developers, Industry, Private Institutions

Just in time for Christmas, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration has posted the names of 58 developers, industrial plants, corporate and nonprofit hospitals, museums, private colleges and other institutions that will share $133 million in state matching grants for favored projects across the Commonwealth. It’s the latest installment of the Redevelopment Authority Capital Program grants, a program that’s been popular with lawmakers and developers since the 1980s.

Read the list at


South Bethlehem’s ‘Front Door’ To Get Makeover

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

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

Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan announced Thursday the design of several grant-funded projects aimed at sprucing up the “front door” to southeast Bethlehem.

Those projects will include building a gathering space at the popular SkatePlaza, an economic analysis of how to redevelop properties, wayfinding signs and connections from the rails-to-trails park to neighborhoods.

The profiles of the neighborhoods near E. Fourth Street and Daley Avenue are quickly rising as the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem continues to draw visitors and Route 412 expands to accommodate more traffic.

“With changes that have taken place here, the eastern gateway is the new front door of Bethlehem,” Mayor John Callahan said at a news conference at the Forte Building.

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Two Projects On Tap For Pottstown’s Southern Gateway

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Image via Wikipedia

There are two projects being proposed that would have a significant impact on Pottstown‘s southern gateway, aka Hanover Street.

The first proposed project is the construction of a LEED certified building on a vacant lot that once housed a gas station.  The lot is in the flood plain and needs further remediation but the Pottstown Health and Wellness Foundation is looking to build a 5,000-square-foot building on the lot as their permanent home in downtown Pottstown.  The Health and Wellness Foundation currently rents space in the former First Fidelity Building at the corner of High and Hanover Streets. 

The Pottstown Health and Wellness Foundation was created when Pottstown Memorial Medical Center was sold to Community Health Systems (CHS) of Brentwood, Tennessee.  The foundation has given various borough and greater Pottstown organizations millions of dollars in grant money since its inception. Pottstown Memorial Medical Center is Pottstown’s largest employer.  Since the sale to CHS, the seven-story hospital has been remodeled and services have been expanded.

The second project is the conversion of the former home of AAA into administrative offices and classrooms for Montgomery County Community College.  The West Campus of Montgomery County Community College has been a great asset to Pottstown.  It provides affordable education for Tri-County residents and has already expanded to High Street.  When the original building was outgrown, a second site on High Street was created from an adaptive reuse project using an old warehouse.  Now the college is looking for more space as it continues to grow. 

The building being eyes for redevelopment is on S. Hanover Street and formerly housed AAA, Domino’s Pizza and an employment agency.  It has been vacant since AAA moved their headquarters to Limerick Township.

Education and medicine are being used successfully by many communities as vehicles for economic development and revitalization.  These two projects would leverage existing entities within Pottstown Borough and strengthen their ties to our community.

I am unaware that Pottstown has any LEED certified buildings within its borders.  The construction of this new facility could be the beginning of more LEED certified buildings in our community.

Historic Columbia, PA Market House Rededicated

A large crowd was on hand Thursday for the rededication of the Historic Columbia Market House, which recently underwent improvements to its roof, exterior and heating and electrical systems.
Speakers included Mayor Leo Lutz, Borough Manager Norm Meiskey, Borough Council President Mary Wickenheiser, Columbia Historic Market House Trust Chairman Dave Rupp, Turkey Hill Vice President John Cox and Lancaster County Commissioner Craig Leaman.

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Erie County Gets Federal Highway Funds

Erie County and Harborcreek and Lawrence Park townships will share more than $1 million in federal highway funds to improve public access to lakefront scenery along Route 5…

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City of York Gets $5 Million Infrastructure Grant From PA

The City of York has received a $5 million grant that will allow the city to transform the existing City Hall, 50 West King St., into a modern police station.  The rest of the city administration, staff and mayor’s office will be moving into a new location at 101 S. George St., which the city purchased in March.

50 West King Street will get an $867,531 renovation to make the new police station modern and efficient.  Governor Corbett’s office is reviewing Ed Rendell’s 2010 grants to make sure they are good use of taxpayer money.  This has caused delays in the distribution of previously approved funds.

York City is working hard to reduce crime and create a more positive perception of the city.  A modern facility and better tools should help city police make more headway in the fight to curb crime.

Harrisburg’s West Shore Communities Focusing On Curb Appeal

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Cumberland County

Image via Wikipedia

Several suburban Harrisburg communities, across the river in Cumberland County, are trying to make their downtown’s more attractive to shoppers, motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists by completing major streetscape projects in their downtowns.

Lemoyne is trying to become a destination rather than a “drive-through” community by making their downtown attractive and welcoming to shoppers.  Phase Two of their streetscape improvements will start in the fall of 2012. The new project will extend existing improvements made in Phase One and focus on safety and appearance.

Wormleysburg has a plan in place, but it is on hold due to the economy.

Camp Hill also approved a plan but placed it on hold due to a sewer project priority.

West Fairview, in East Pennsboro Township, will have their streetscape project begin in mid-August.

New Cumberland is seeking a block grant to extend their existing streetscape improvements.

Dillsburg completed a streetscape project last fall,

Carlisle recently added bike lanes and trails.

Mechanicsburg used a grant to make sidewalk and crosswalk improvements near several schools.

New Kingston, in Silver Spring Township, is also working on a streetscape plan.