A variety of projects, in numerous locations throughout Luzerne County, were awarded $12 million from the Commonwealth Financing Authority. The money comes from an account funded by a percentage of money gambled at Mohegan Sun Casino in Plains Township.
Wilkes University and the City of Wilkes-Barre were awarded $2 million to build a new science center. Wilkes University has been an active partner with the City of Wilkes-Barre for downtown revitalization. The new science center will help make Wilkes more attractive and competitive.
The City of Wilkes-Barre is also receiving $706,000 toward the stabilization and rehabilitation of the First National Bank Building on Public Square. The building has been vacant since 1974! This work will make the building more attractive to developers for adaptive reuse projects. The building sits in the central business district in Wilkes-Barre and would normally be attractive for development except for cost of the rehabilitation work is prohibitive. This grant will enable development of the property when the work is completed.
A complete list of funded projects can be found here:
This is great news for Chester! Power Home Remodeling Group, the nations fourth-largest home-remodeling company, is relocating their corporate headquarters to Chester’s riverfront. (Sounds like a ULI recommendation to me)
The Wharf at Rivertown is a mixed-use office and retail project along the Chester riverfront. Governor Rendell, when he’s not busy yelling at Leslie Stahl, said “This project will continue the impressive development of the city’s waterfront area and build upon its growing reputation as a great location for businesses looking to relocate or expand.”
The Governor’s Action Team (GAT) coordinated the project. GAT is made up of economic development professionals who work with businesses that are interested in expanding in or relocating to Pennsylvania.
A $300,000 grant was obtained with the help of the Delaware County Commerce Center. The entire Power Home Remodeling Group project will cost $1 million dollars. It will create 270 new jobs within three years and keep the 278 jobs already in Chester.
A ceremonial groundbreaking is scheduled for January 24th at Railroad Plaza, on the corner of Main and Madison Streets. The construction will take place on several streets in downtown Lansdale.
New sidewalks, streetlights and (dare I say) shade trees are being added to bring curb appeal to the downtown shopping district. Wonder if Mr. Hylton was consulted about this???
The contractor, Wexcon Inc., will be establishing a construction headquarters in Lansdale, which is expected to cut costs. Wexcon is trying to make the project minimally invasive to downtown merchants by doing construction in one block increments and on one side of the street at a time. Sounds better than ripping up the entire downtown all at once!
A webcam installation is being considered so residents can watch the progress on the borough website.
The Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program is going to receive just that, an infusion of capital that will make three York County projects possible. Approval has been given for the sale of $650 million dollars in bonds by Pennsylvania Treasurer, Rob McCord.
The Northwest Triangle project is waiting on a $7.5 million dollar grant to demolish buildings and make way for new construction. For more information on the Northwest Triangle, you can read my post on this very large brownfield redevelopment project in York City.
The York YMCA is giving away money to neighborhood groups in York City who are looking to fund various beautification projects. The projects, if selected, are eligible to receive a grant from the YMCA for between $500 and $1500 dollars. The dollar amount will be determined by the scope of the project. This could be for tree-planting or flower-planting, for example. Basically any projects that help make city neighborhoods more attractive will be considered.
The $30,000 pool of money, available in 2011, is being donated by the Women’s Giving Circle and the York County Community Foundation. The York YMCA has a “Resources for Urban Neighborhoods” program that will be the initial recipient of this money. In turn, the YMCA will distribute these fund based on the applications they receive.
If you are a York City resident who would like more information, a meeting is scheduled for January 11th at 6:00 p.m. at the York YMCA which is located at 90 N. Newberry Street.
The City of Philadelphia got some great news this week in terms of grant money received for two projects.
The Department of Energy awarded Philadelphia a $129 million dollar grant to establish an energy hub at the Navy Yard. This energy hub will create green technology. The project is expected to create 1,200 jobs immediately and another 100,000 in ten years!
The Urban Affairs Coalition was awarded an $11.8 million dollar grant to bring broadband internet access to low-income city residents.
I think this is a great example of urban renewal, blight eradication, working together, finding available money and utilizing elected officials to facilitate change.
The City of Wilkes-Barre has worked with Senator Bob Casey and Congressman Paul Kanjorski to obtain $950,000 in federal funding that will be put toward the $13.7 million dollar renovation of Coal Street Park into the future home of the Wilkes-Barre Penguins Hockey Team. This ice skating rink has been an abandoned and blighted property in the city of Wilkes-Barre for the last seven years. No city general fund revenue has been allocated toward this endeavor but instead the project is being funded by state and federal grants.
Coal Street Park is in a high traffic area and a gateway to downtown Wilkes-Barre. The property spans 31 acres and will receive an extensive renovation. Moving the Penguins into the city will bring 20 full-time and 40 part-time jobs, bring more consumers/money into downtown Wilkes-Barre and add to the quality of life for city residents. Currently the W/B Penguins are located in suburban Plains Township.
There is money out there. This is why a cohesive and unified vision is needed for Pottstown.