213 collaborative community revitalization projects in Pennsylvania win $35,970,850 to revive dying downtowns and neighborhoods

On November 3, 2022, Pennsylvania‘s governor, Tom Wolf, announced the approval of $35,970,850 for community revitalization projects through the Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP).

The NAP promotes community participation and collaborations among nonprofits, businesses, and residents while producing outcomes that help revitalize a distressed area or the low-income population in a neighborhood.

Court Street in downtown Reading (on eo fhte award winners) with the Berks County courthouse on the left. Photo by Marduk via Wikipedia.

The funding will support 213 community revitalization projects across the commonwealth.

Pennsylvania’s communities are the foundation of our economic success,” said Governor Wolf.

The Neighborhood Assistance Program encourages businesses to make impactful investments in worthy projects across the commonwealth, helping to improve the lives of Pennsylvanians. The rewards we can provide through tax credits in this important program advance and improve communities and ensure Pennsylvania remains the best place to live, work, and play,” he added.

The program also provides for COVID-19 and social justice related assistance.

In recognition of the unprecedented level of challenges these events posed for residents of the commonwealth, a special emphasis was placed upon, and priority was given, to projects that sought to address critical issues related to the pandemic, its aftermath and recovery, social justice and improving opportunities for marginalized populations.

NAP encourages private sector investment into projects that will help improve distressed communities by providing tax credits to businesses that donate capital to support projects that address neighborhood and community problems.

NAP can be used for projects in categories including affordable housing, community services, crime prevention, education, job training, food access, blight, special population issues, veteran’s initiatives, and long-term community revitalization.

The approved funding will support:

  • 29 community investments in the central region. One project in Lycoming County will prevent displacement of families and will allow the continuation of shelter services for approximately 1,400 individuals per year. The funding will support the program by providing resources for clean and adequate water to the residents.
  • 22 community investments in the Lehigh Valley region. One project in Berks County will help a minority-owned business transform a dilapidated property in the city of Reading into a location with fresh produce, meats and a deli. In addition, the project will be a wholesale distribution warehouse, manufacturing facility for fresh dough discs and a fast- dining option creating 120 full-time jobs.
  • 27 community investments in the northeast region. One project in Lackawanna County will serve veterans, first responders, and Gold Star families with PTSD and other disabilities by offering a pathway to recovery through peer to peer interaction, camaraderie, and outdoor activities. Camp freedom offers nature based therapy to clients and also works in partnership with other non-profit organizations to ensure help is available when needed.
  • 21 community investments in the northwest region. One project in Erie County will support the construction of a 10,000-square-foot athletic center providing youth access to safe and organized activities that promote a healthy lifestyle. The athletic center will host a range of athletic/recreational programs and could become a permanent home for the city’s Police Athletic League, which focuses on tutoring/mentoring children and teenagers through sports and other activities while building positive relationships between city youth and police officers.
  • 56 community investments in the southeast region. One project in Delaware County will focus on exterior improvements to fourteen homes in the West-End Community Improvement Initiative residential neighborhoods of Chester city. The project will provide funding to eligible owner-occupied property owners who are interested in improving the exterior of their homes. This funding is aimed at assisting homeowners who have difficulty in financing minor exterior repairs.
  • 58 community investments in the southwest region. One project in Somerset County will support expansion efforts at a childcare center that will more than double its capacity to meet growing demand and add 27 new jobs.

The new approvals raise the total amount of tax credits provided under the Wolf Administration to $212 million through NAP supporting 1,361 projects statewide.

The investment will result in more than $331 million in additional funds leveraged through corporate contributions.

The program has five main components: The Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP), Special Program Priorities (SPP), the Neighborhood Partnership Program (NPP), Charitable Food Program (CFP), and the Enterprise Zone Program (EZP).

Featured photo of downtown Chester (one of the award winners) at 5th and Avenue of the States is by Smallbones via Wikipedia.

See Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) website.

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