TOBYHANNA – The most recent round of gaming fund revenues generated by Mount Airy Casino Resort and applied for through the Monroe County Industrial Development Authority (MCIDA) will fund major transportation, infrastructure, education, and economic development initiatives in Monroe County, along with a number of community improvement projects.
The county’s growing infrastructure needs will be served by $1.25 million slated to improve several local roadways and more than $1 million allocated to the Brodhead Creek Regional Authority to expand the Stroudsburg wastewater treatment facility. That expansion is crucial to provide connections to Pocono Township’s central sewer project, which is expected to be fully operational by 2013.
East Stroudsburg University and the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority will each receive nearly half a million dollars. ESU will use the money to expand its Center for Research and Economic Development. The Rail Authority will use the fund to acquire additional track from Norfolk Southern.
In all, 12 projects, along with money earmarked for the expansion of Northampton Community College’s Tannersville Campus will receive more than $6.1 million in funds generated by the Pennsylvania Horse Race and Gaming Development Act, or Act 71, which set up a “local share assessment account” (LSA) and required the Commonwealth Financing Authority to distribute money that is generated by licensed gaming facilities to support community and economic development projects. The 2011 distribution represents a 13 percent increase from last year
“Infrastructure improvements are a tremendous need,” says MCIDAExecutive Director Chuck Leonard. “That’s why you’re seeing so much money directed to the sewer projects and local road projects. Many people don’t realize the role that sewage capacity and quality local roads play in the quest to bring jobs to Monroe County. We’re thrilled that the CFA recognizes our needs and placed a priority on those projects.”
The $6.1 million distribution represents only 50 percent of Mt. Airy’s contribution to the local share account. Commonwealth law mandates that Monroe County must share gaming fund revenues equally with neighboring counties. Leonard also points out that since the initial distribution of LSA funds in 2009; Monroe County has received more than $17 million in support of local initiatives.
“Some of these projects are now complete or nearly complete,” says Leonard. “The Pocono Mountains Regional Airport just completed an expansion supported by more than $2 million in gaming revenue and if you look alongside I-80 in East Stroudsburg, you’ll see Pocono Medical Center’s new cancer center nearing completion, also supported by more than $2 million in gaming revenue.”
The Monroe County Industrial Development Authority is part of the Pocono Mountains Economic Development Corporation, a non-profit economic development corporation dedicated to creating jobs for Monroe County residents, expanding the county’s tax base and attracting new investment with the direct support of the Monroe County Commissioners. More information on economic development in Monroe County can be found at www.www.pmedc.com
More information on the local share assessment account is available at www.newpa.com or by calling 1-866-466-3972.
The Monroe County Industrial Development Authority received LSA funding for the following Monroe County projects:
• $1,047,275 to the Brodhead Creek Regional Authority for expansion of the Stroudsburg Wastewater Treatment Plant
• $459.550 to East Stroudsburg University’s Center for Research and Economic Development fo fund an expansion
• $454,500 to the PA Northeast Regional Railroad Authority for track acquisition
• $124,283 to the Sherman Theater to support a planned expansion
• $47,972 to the Eldred Township Historical Society for renovation of the Kunkletown Post Office
• $89,998 for a redevelopment project at the Buck Hill Inn
Other Projects that were approved include:
• $555,555 to Hamilton Township earmarked for replacing the Strawberry Hill Road bridge.
• $311,760 to Jackson Township to widen Twin Pine Road
• $311,759 to Jackson Township to widen Cays Road
• $200,000 to Barrett Township for the renovation of the former Barrett Friendly Library into a senior center
• $65,000 to Coolbaugh Township for improvements at Hemlock Drive and Route 611
• $63,225 to Chestnuthill Township for a realignment of Bush Lane