State House Representatives announced an influx of almost $2.3 million in state grants marked for Monroe County projects last Wednesday.
State funds stemming from the gaming-funded Local Share Account, the Pipeline Investment Program and the Commonwealth Financing Authority will provide a wealth of grants for a wide variety of projects, and hopefully stimulate the local economy as well, Rep. Rosemary Brown (R-Monroe/Pike) said.
“These area projects are vital to develop and enhance economic and environmental growth here in Monroe County,” Brown said. “I am happy to see so many major projects will be aided from these funds.”
LOCAL SHARE ACCOUNT PROJECTS
Local Share Account funds in Monroe County come from the 2% of gross terminal revenues of certain licensed gaming facilities “to support and enhance community and economic well-being and mitigate the impact of gaming and related activities,” according to the program’s guidelines.
Local Share Account grants will fund a few key projects in Chestnuthill and Middle Smithfield Townships, and the Monroe County Industrial Development Authority and the Pocono Mountain Industrial Development Authority will see over $1.4 million spread across a variety of initiatives.
Chestnuthill’s $225,000 has been slotted for the construction of a centralized emergency services building that will house fire, medical and operations functions, and serve the residents of Chestnuthill, Jackson, Eldred, Ross Polk and Hamilton Townships.
Middle Smithfield’s cut of $51,975 will go toward energy efficiency renovations to the former Marshall’s Creek Volunteer Fire Company station in a move to transform the facility into a warming station and emergency shelter for the community.
Monroe County Industrial Development Authority will see $868,415 spread across ten projects, including some sizable entries such as a $291,522 dispersal for repairs to three sewage treatment facilities in order to transfer ownership to the Mount Pocono Municipal Authority.
Belmont Pike Properties HOP received $161,304 for the redevelopment of the Old Saylor’s Inn property, and Barley Creek Associates received the same amount for wastewater treatment facility expansion upgrades.
Other Industrial Development Authority fund dispersals include $60,116 for the West End Food Pantry renovation project, $25,000 for the VALOR Clinic Foundation to purchase a vehicle, $52,547 for the Polk Township Volunteer Fire Company’s cascade air project, $51,097 for the Monroe County Municipal Waste Management Authority’s deep collection vehicle purchase, $25,641 for the Eldred Township Historical Society’s old Kunkletown Post Office renovation, $24,138 for the Lehigh Valley Hospital Network’s hospice house garden in East Stroudsburg, and $15,696 for the Clymer Library’s roof and file cabinet projects.
Karena Thek, director of the West End Food Pantry, said that the funds her organization received will go toward an air conditioning system for their facility.
“We’re in an old school that does not have air conditioning, so the summer months get super duper hot,” Thek said. “This is going to improve the way we store food, and every volunteer that comes to us will be able to work in comfort, and every client that comes to us will be able to get food in comfort.”
Thek said that the new system will go a long way toward reducing food waste, allowing their pantry to provide for more families in need. Without grant opportunities, however, it would not be possible.
“We could not do these larger projects that help us advance and improve without funding opportunities such as this,” Thek said. “Those big dollars are just not out there, so this helps us so tremendously.”
Pocono Mountain Industrial Park Authority received $565,957 that will go toward the installation of a pipe that will cross along township and private property to provide public water access to a planned Vigon International expansion and the existing Silverback Distillery in addition to other business and planned residential areas.
COMMONWEALTH FINANCING AUTHORITY PROJECTS
The Commonwealth Financing Authority was established in 2004 as an independent agency under the Department of Community and Economic Development to administer Pennsylvania’s economic stimulus packages, holding fiduciary responsibility over program funding and investments in the commonwealth’s economic growth.
Over $550,000 in Commonwealth Financing Authority funds will go toward Pocono Mountain Industries and Lehigh Valley Economic Investment Corporation projects, with both entities providing matching funds to complete their respective projects.
Pocono Mountain Industries received $231,110 for the extension of 2,700 feet of natural gas pipeline along Airport and Airstrip Roads, in addition to 300 feet of trenching and backfill, engineering, inspection and administration costs in Smithfield Township. The gas line will serve a new 130,000 square foot building that Vigon International is constructing. The new building, which is an expansion of existing facilities, will help create 75 new jobs in the area, officials say. Airstrip Road DC, LLC is set to provide matching funds for the project in the amount of $231,111.
Rader said that while the district and Monroe County businesses and organizations obviously benefit from the grants, local residents will also see a significant impact in their communities.
“These important projects are good for the district and Monroe County, and I am pleased they were approved for funding,” Rader said. “In addition to their economic impact, they also serve the public interest and community improvement, helping to enhance the quality of life for all residents.”