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Sen. Blake Announces $9 Million in Grants for District Redevelopment Projects

SCRANTON, December 23, 2020 – Sen. John Blake (D- Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) today announced that six redevelopment projects throughout his 22nd Senatorial District will receive $9 million in state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grants.

“The RACP program has been a critical funding mechanism that has allowed local businesses to transform long-vacant buildings and empty lots into state-of-the-art educational facilities and much-needed downtown residential housing and commercial space,” Blake said. “This $9 million in funding is extraordinary news for our region and I commend the Wolf administration for their continued support of important redevelopment projects across the Commonwealth.”

Fidelity Deposit and Discount Bank received $2 million to construct a new, 45,000 square foot headquarters in downtown Scranton. This project will inject up to 130 well-paying financial, professional jobs into the City of Scranton.

“A thriving downtown Scranton is essential to the health of the entire region’s economy and I am thrilled that Fidelity has focused their expansion plans into the heart of our City,” Blake said.

The Scranton School District received $3 million to renovate and replace infrastructure at four existing school buildings within the district. The district plans to replace the heating system at Armstrong Elementary School; extensively renovate the sprinkler system at Scranton High School; update the heating system and boilers at South Scranton Intermediate School; and create additional classroom space and a new science laboratory space at West Scranton Intermediate and West Scranton High Schools.

“As Scranton School District continues to progress through their financial recovery plan, upgrading their facilities and infrastructure remains a top priority of school administration,” Blake added. “I am very grateful that the state will again step up to help our City’s school district and alleviate additional financial burden from our taxpayers.” 

Slocum Hollow Properties, LLC, received $1 million in RACP funding for the renovation of three vacant buildings on the National Registry of Historic Places along Lackawanna Avenue in downtown Scranton. The project entails the renovation of 30,000 square feet of interior space to be developed with more than 50% for commercial use. The properties are located at 514, 516 & 518 Lackawanna Avenue and 515, 517 & 519 Bogart Court in Scranton.

“This project will continue the resurgence and renaissance of downtown Scranton by converting three buildings – each over 150 years old – into a vibrant commercial hub of restaurants; commercial establishments; creatively utilized outdoor space; a breathtaking rooftop venue; and economically sustaining residential space,” Blake added. 

The University of Scranton received $1.5 million for the renovation of the University’s Hyland Hall to create new laboratory space and house their mechanical engineering academic program. The new space in Hyland Hall will include four engineering laboratories; a student classroom; a garage; staff offices and all necessary equipment.

“The University of Scranton is one of the finest institutions of higher learning in the country and this grant will allow the University to expand its course offerings and add a cutting edge mechanical engineering program,” Blake said.

The Scranton Lackawanna Human Development Agency (SLHDA) received $500,000 to purchase and completely rehabilitate a vacant school building in Scranton to house federally funded Head Start and Pre-K counts early childhood education in the City of Scranton.

“The financial distress experienced by the Scranton School District forced the discontinuation of the school’s early childhood education programming and SLHDA has stepped up to ensure that no child in Scranton, low income or otherwise, be denied a quality, early childhood education experience,” Blake said.  “This project will provide the state-of-the-art facility needed for the provision of that early childhood education.”

Lastly, in Monroe County, the Pocono Mountains Industrial Park Authority received $1 million for the construction of approximately 1 mile of new roads creating necessary access to subdivided lands within and contiguous to the Corporate Center South.

RACP is a commonwealth grant program administered by the Governor’s Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic and community development improvement projects.  The program requires a dollar for dollar match in non-state funding in the project and all project related expenses must be incurred and satisfied in advance of approved reimbursements from the state.

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