On February 25, 2019, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced funding through the Keystone Communities program that will help revitalize communities across the commonwealth via 43 restoration and beautification projects.
“This administration is committed to making our communities better places to live and do business,” Governor Wolf said. “From restoring community cornerstones to beautifying downtowns to helping people with disabilities make crucial accessibility improvements to their homes, these projects will have profound impacts for local residents and business owners.”
Administered by the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), the Keystone Communities program is designed to support local initiatives that grow and stabilize neighborhoods and communities, encourage the creation of partnerships between the public and private sectors in the community, and enhance the overall quality of life for residents.
Since January 2015, the Wolf Administration approved more than $22 million through the Keystone Communities program to fund 131 projects statewide, including façade grants for businesses, accessible housing projects, public infrastructure improvements, and other projects to strengthen communities and downtown districts.
“In order for our economy to thrive, we need to help build strong communities,” DCED Secretary Dennis Davin said. “Strong communities attract businesses that create jobs, and strong business environments attract new residents to the area and grow the local economy. That’s why these projects are so vital to the areas in which they’re located.”
The commonwealth strongly encourages community-based organizations, public agencies, business leaders, private developers, financial institutions, and private citizens to work in partnership with local government to develop a comprehensive approach to address community development and housing needs. These partnerships create more attractive places to live and will encourage business and job expansion and retention in Pennsylvania.
These projects funded with over $5.5 million from the state:
City of Pittsburgh: $402,000 for improvements and repairs to the Jefferson Recreation Center, which provides a safe place with free programming and support to youth in the Central Northside neighborhood. The project will include a new roof, windows, doors, masonry restoration, and ADA upgrades to the recreation center, as well as new playground equipment and basketball court upgrades.
Coraopolis Community Development Foundation, Inc.: $175,000 to renovate the Coraopolis Train Station, including replacement of the slate and metal roof to protect the structure from damage while further renovations are planned that will support a teaching kitchen and cafe and community center. Once operations are in place, all proceeds will benefit community crisis and support the food pantry and community garden.
FCP Services, Inc.: $67,579 to replace the roof of the Depot building, a blighted building in Tarentum. When fully renovated, the building will serve as an anchor building to spur further development in the blighted central business district.
Oakland Planning and Development Corporation: $50,000 for a façade improvement program that targets low income homeowners who fall at or below 120 percent of AMI. The proposed façade grants will impact 10-15 income-qualified homeowners in the neighborhoods of west, south, and central Oakland who wish to improve the exterior façade of their home.
Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh: $100,000 to continue a business storefront façade program encompassing the entire city. The program currently has 20 projects in the pipeline and an additional 35 projects are expected to be completed in 2018.
Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation: $200,000 for restoration of the Wilkinsburg Train Station to provide an adaptively reused, transit-focused civic space that can be used by residents and daily commuters alike.
Kittanning Borough: $50,000 for façade improvements to at least 10 buildings located in the Central Business District.
Building A Better Boyertown: $50,000 for façade improvements on 10 buildings in the downtown district that reflect the historic character of the town.
Borough of Kutztown: $25,000 for the development of a comprehensive strategic plan for the downtown district in Kutztown that will focus on renovating vacant student housing so it can serve a wider array of individuals such as young professionals and families.
West Reading: $25,000 to create a five-year strategic plan for the Main and Elm Street programs in the Borough of West Reading to ensure a well-managed, productive organization that delivers high-quality community services and programs.
Habitat for Humanity of Bucks County Inc.: $150,000 to support the implementation of an accessible housing program that will provide necessary accessibility modifications to the homes of 24 individuals across the county.
Ebensburg Borough: $50,000 to implement a facade improvement program in the downtown business district of Ebensburg to enhance the appearance of the downtown area.
Johnstown Industrial Development Corporation: $282,000 for improvements to the 6,000-square-foot Parkview Building in the central business district. Once renovated, the building will house Creator Square, a studio-based, multi-use development that will include up to four maker spaces and gallery space.
Redevelopment Authority of Cambria County: $60,000 to provide owner-occupied accessibility renovations to approximately 20 structures located throughout the county.
Bellefonte Borough: $23,000 planning grant for a wayfinding signage project to identify specific signage needs, correct identified problems, and develop tools to promote future signage cohesiveness.
Chester County Department of Community Development: $300,000 to continue the implementation of its accessible housing program by assisting 30 applicants throughout the county.
Titusville Redevelopment Authority: $232,417 for the continued redevelopment of the Titusville Town Square, including renovation of the first floor into a retail incubator with seven small stores and a breakfast and lunch counter.
Center for Independent Living of Central PA: $300,000 to support its Home Modification and Access Program, which provides accessibility modifications to the homes of individuals with disabilities.
Lansdowne Economic Development Corporation: $50,000 to continue their facade program in Lansdowne Borough in order get the business district into top shape, to foster an attractive shopping environment, and to preserve the architectural heritage of Lansdowne’s central business district.
City of Erie: $300,000 for the renovation of a three-unit elevator system in the Renaissance Centre, a 14-floor historic anchor building located along downtown’s primary gateway of State Street.
Mainstreet Waynesboro, Inc.: $192,530 to redevelop an underutilized building in the heart of historic downtown to include a destination restaurant, office space, apartments, and a visitor center.
Punxsutawney Revitalization: Investing, Developing, Enhancing, Inc.: $6,000 to develop a downtown strategic plan in the Borough of Punxsutawney to determine the types of businesses the community should encourage to locate downtown.
Greater Carbondale YMCA: $191,895 for lower level renovations to the YMCA located in Carbondale City. The early learning programs at the YMCA are at capacity with a waiting list, and in order to expand services, the YMCA will renovate the lower level with additional classrooms and expanded kitchen.
Lancaster City Alliance: $50,000 for 10-15 façade improvements for businesses located in the commercial hubs of South Prince and South Queen streets.
Community Action Committee of Lehigh Valley: $175,000 to support the organization’s Upside Allentown Residential Rehab Program, which will renovate or rehabilitate approximately 28 properties of low-income households in the center city area during the first year.
Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress: $158,000 for the rehabilitation of a blighted property at 13-15 W. Broad Street into the PSU Hazelton LaunchBox, a small business incubator.
Redevelopment Authority of the City of Pittston: $220,246 to redevelop the second floor of the underutilized “Open Space” building on South Main Street. Currently, the second floor is unsafe to access. By repairing and renovating this floor, the building can house additional tenants and catalyze development in Pittston’s central business district.
City of Bradford: $50,000 for façade improvements in the designated Keystone Community area including include storefront signage, exterior repairs, painting, repair/replacement of windows and doors, roof replacement/repair, cleaning of exterior surfaces, installation of awnings, and design assistance.
Kane Area Revitalization Enterprise: $10,236 for the necessary planning costs to revitalize and beautify the eastern gateway into Kane.
City of Sharon: $15,000 to assist with a business improvement district feasibility study and the development of a five-year revitalization action strategy for downtown Sharon.
Danville Business Alliance: $50,000 for façade improvements in Danville’s Central Business District.
Community Action Development Corporation of Bethlehem: $30,000 for improvements to Friendship Park located in the City of Bethlehem. Improvements include new ADA-compliant playground equipment, trash receptacles, benches, and tables.
Easton City: $25,000 to develop a comprehensive, city-wide economic development strategy for the City of Easton that will enable the city to build on its successes in attracting investment, increasing its tax base, and lowering its crime rate.
City of Shamokin: $200,000 for improvements to the American Legion Building, a landmark of the Shamokin downtown district since 1922. Improvements include roof replacement, plumbing repairs/replacement, and electrical and efficiency improvements.
Cradles to Crayons: $250,000 to make lease-hold improvements to convert a former industrial space into a Giving Factory warehouse located in the City of Philadelphia. This will provide the organization with adequate space to increase the number of children served in Philadelphia by 33 percent. Cradles to Crayons provides children ages 0-12 living in homeless or low-income situations with essential items needed to thrive at school, home, and play.
The Enterprise Center Community Development Corporation: $25,000 to develop a streetscape plan for the 52nd Street Neighborhood commercial corridor, a designated Keystone Man Street in the City of Philadelphia.
Hispanic Association of Contractors and Enterprises Inc. (HACE): $414,241 to construct a 21,525-square-foot mixed-use facility on a vacant lot located at 2739-47 North 5th St. The site will be developed to house four new commercial businesses and 30 affordable housing units targeting individuals 55 and older who are ineligible for other senior housing options due to their criminal histories.
People’s Emergency Center: $25,000 to redevelop Hawthorne Hall, a historically-designated theater and commercial space that is one of the most recognizable buildings in the community, into a full-service restaurant, bookstore, and performance space that will help spur further investment in the area.
Southwest Community Development Corporation: $10,000 to complete a comprehensive affordable housing planning study that will serve as a guide to future housing and revitalization strategies. Southwest Philadelphia is currently one of the last affordable neighborhoods in the city.
Somerset, Inc.: $50,000 for implementing a façade improvement program that will renovate 10 or more facades for buildings in the central business district.
City of Washington: $196,420 for the development of the Washington Trust Company Building across the street from the County Courthouse, including converting the building from an under-performing office building into a mixed-use structure featuring commercial offices, retail, and 24 affordable housing units.
Main Street Hanover, Inc.: $50,000 for approximately 10 facade improvements in the downtown district.
Self-Determination Housing Project of Pennsylvania: $250,000 to continue implementing its state-wide accessible housing modifications program, which will serve approximately 25 individuals with necessary accessibility modifications to their homes.
Photo of the 1928 Hanover Theater in Hanover, Pennsylvania by John Lloyd via Wikipedia.