The Pocono Mountains Economic Development Corporation coordinated distribution of $6.2 million in Local Share Account grants in July, 2016, including $2.4 million in continuing support for Northampton Community College’s Monroe Campus and nearly $1 million help fund a new connector road between routes 447 and 209.
Other grants will fund the widening of a major road interchange near Kalahari Resort, reconstruction at Pocono Mountains Municipal Airport and new vehicles for the Pocono Mountain Regional Police Department.
In all, the Commonwealth Financing Agency says that 18 Monroe County projects will receive LSA grants, which are drawn from a portion of local gambling proceeds at Mount Airy Casino.
Pennsylvania Act 71 requires that 2 percent of proceeds at local gambling establishments be used to fund projects that improve the local quality of life, the community, area roads or civic or cultural activities. As home to Mount Airy, Monroe County is the only host county to a Pennsylvania gambling facility that is required to share its proceeds with neighboring counties, meaning half of the proceeds go to Monroe County projects and half go to projects in either Pike, Carbon, Northampton, Lackawanna or Wayne counties.
Monroe County pledged last decade to dedicate $2.4 million of LSA funds each year toward retiring the 20-year debt for building a new county campus for Northampton Community College. This is in addition to the $3.8 million awarded to this year’s projects.
Smithfield Gateway, a mixed-use development near the Marshalls Creek interchange of Interstate 80, will receive $950,000 for an alternative bypass through the proposed development, linking Route 209 with Route 447.
DEPG Associates has received preliminary approval from Smithfield Township to begin the three-phase project of retail stores, restaurants, offices, medical facilities and residential development. Work on the first phase, including a major supermarket, is expected to begin in 2017.
Kalahari Resort in Tobyhanna Township will receive $912,000 for nearby road improvements required by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. This includes widening the nearby interchange of Interstate 380, Route 940 and Route 314. Expansion of the new water park resort is expected to generate 500 additional jobs.
The Pocono Mountains Municipal Airport Authority will receive $400,000 for the proposed construction of 12-unit hangar and an equipment storage building and to demolish anaging building. But since the grant figure is less than required to complete the $1 million project, the airport authority board will need to reevaluate how much work the agency can take on.
Other awards include: