Community Projects Disclosures

Community Funding Projects Requests for FY2022 

Project Name: Alvernia University Pottsville Campus Programming and Classroom/Technology Upgrades

Request Amount: $2,580,000

Intended Recipient: Alvernia University Pottsville Campus

Full Street Address of the Intended Recipient: Alvernia University, 400 Saint Bernardine St. Reading, PA 19607

Signed Financial Disclosure Letter

Explanation of the request:

Alvernia University is committed to advancing sustainable economic development and access to high quality education in the communities where its located. Since 1995, the University has operated an important satellite campus in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania offering programs with flexible day, evening, and weekend classes to rural central Pennsylvania. The University is advancing the relocation and expansion of its Schuylkill campus to downtown Pottsville. The new campus will offer the addition of two new degree programs, academic enhancements to several existing programs, and campus-wide modernization and technology upgrade improvements. The request will fund programming and classroom and technology upgrades for the new campus. The new 16,000-sq-ft campus space will include:

  • Two state-of-the-art microbiology labs to support the proposed development and implementation of a new Bachelor of Science Nursing degree program. The labs will support Alvernia’s healthcare programs and a proposed partnership with the McCloskey School of Nursing at the Lehigh Valley Health Network based on regional employer needs. 
  • Two heavy equipment simulators to deliver dynamic student training and safety results through the power of state-of-the-art virtual learning. These training simulators help students develop the necessary skills to enter the field of heavy equipment operating and can be used during day and evening classes, regardless of weather conditions, to improve access to and quality of educational programming.
  • Smart educational technology outfit of all classrooms, interactive connected classrooms, and 50 new computers for the labs.

The request also provides for the development of two new programs (Bachelor of Science Nursing and Bachelor of Logistics), the enhancement of three existing programs (Bachelor of Behavior Health, Bachelor of Education, and Master of Education), and faculty for the first year of the new and enhanced programs.

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Project Name: Lebanon Valley College Nursing & Interdisciplinary Health Education Facility

Request Amount: $1,000,000

Intended Recipient: Lebanon Valley College

Full Street Address of the Intended Recipient: Lebanon Valley College, 101 North College Avenue, Annville, PA 17003-1400

Signed Financial Disclosure Letter

Explanation of the request:

In April 2021, the PA State Board of Nursing approved the creation of a 4-year bachelor of science in nursing program at LVC--the only such program in Lebanon County. To support the program’s needs, LVC will construct a facility that accommodates 40-60 new nursing students in each (annual) incoming class, as well as 14+ new full-time faculty/staff. The building will contain multiple teaching spaces, including five simulation labs, two skills labs with exam spaces, three classrooms, a wet lab, and a home health simulation area. Skills and simulation labs serve as a bridge between theoretical courses and clinical placements, supporting procedural training and providing high-tech manikins and specialized equipment; there is no existing campus space to support such requirements. The addition of a BSN program is a strategic fit within LVC’s academic programs and 20-year history in health professions. The facility also provides capacity for LVC to launch future companion health programs.

The project received a $500,000 grant in PA’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (Round 1, 2020). An additional request for $3.5 million has been filed in Round 2 of the RACP application process. With the April 2021 approval of the nursing degree by the PA State Board of Nursing, fundraising among alumni and friends of the College has begun in earnest to garner additional support for the facility.

LVC’s four-year nursing program will be the only one in Lebanon County. In Pennsylvania, the demand for RN positions is expected to grow by 13.4% by 2026, and by 15.7% in the Mideast. The American Nurses Association projects that 1.1 million newly trained RNs will be needed by next year to fill new job openings and turnover due to retirements. Labor market indicators show that 88.4% of employers prefer students with a BSN degree, suggesting LVC graduates will immediately be in high demand. LVC also is exploring a new partnership with a regional health care provider to deliver continuing education services for its nursing staff.

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Name: Glen Lyon-Alden Volunteer Hose Company and Newport Township Consolidated Fire Company Emergency Response Center

Request Amount: $374,992

Intended Recipient: Glen Lyon-Alden Volunteer Hose Company and Newport Township Consolidated Fire Company

Full Street Address of the Intended Recipient: Glen Lyon-Alden Volunteer Hose Company PO Box 63 Glen Lyon, PA 18617 Signed Financial Disclosure Letter – (link the attached)

Signed Financial Disclosure Letter

Explanation of the request:  

This project will include construction of additional 565 sq. ft. to the rear of the build. The new building design and construction will provide for ADA Toilet Facilities, Shower / Locker Room and secure storage area to house mechanical and electrical equipment. The addition will be similar construction to the existing.  Security, energy conservation, and controlled accessibility are primary considerations in the proposed design. The proposed project will call for internal reconfiguration of existing space to maximize operational efficiency while provide for a safer and secure working environment. All design and construction shall comply with the requirements of the Uniform Construction Code as accepted by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and all Accessibility Codes affecting the project.  At the present time Newport Township does not have a secure building to serve as an Emergency Response Center.  In the event of an emergency the Community does not have a central location, sufficient in size to serve as a temporary evacuation / mobilization point.

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Name: Schuylkill County Intermediate Punishment Facility

Request Amount: $2,000,000

Intended Recipient: Schuylkill County

Full Street Address of the Intended Recipient: 401 N. 2nd Street, Pottsville, PA 17901

Signed Financial Disclosure Letter 

Explanation of the request:  

An Intermediate Punishment Facility will allow for inmates with mental health, drug and alcohol issues to receive appropriate treatment and life skills and job training.  Such a facility will provide a mechanism to avoid chronic recidivism, which plagues our criminal justice system currently. The facility would house inmates as well as offices for Adult Probation, who will operate the IPC.  The size of the facility would be 45,000 sq. ft. The County did a study back in 2018 which stressed the need for an IPC to 1(address the need to eliminate overcrowding and triple celling inmates at the County Prison and 2)provide a facility to allow for treatment for those inmates suffering conditions such as mental health issues and drug and/or alcohol addiction.  The County Prison does not have any space available for outside agencies to provide services.

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Name: Berwick Area YMCA Renovation Project

Request Amount: $1,000,000

Intended Recipient: Berwick YMCA

Full Street Address of the Intended Recipient: 231 W. Third Street, Berwick, PA  18603

Signed Financial Disclosure Letter

Explanation of the request:

The Berwick Area YMCA is proposing to construct a new gymnasium and community center in Berwick, PA. The new facilities would house community recreation and sports programs for youth and seniors, food distribution programs, enhance child care operations, youth feeding programs and provide a multitude of health and wellness programs in our significantly underserved communities. This project will enhance the social determinants of health, education, and food and nutrition for the most impoverished. During the recent COVID crisis the YMCA transitioned to a COVID relief organization that provided food distribution to seniors and families in poverty, daily meals to children, virtual learning centers to mitigate the challenges of hybrid school schedules, blood drives, child care for essential workers and was a COVID vaccine site. This new project will improve these services while allowing us to be even better prepared to respond to future emergencies.

The YMCA is the central hub for health and social programs in our community and is recognized as a catalyst for bringing others together to solve community needs. No other entity in Berwick provides the services we do while meeting the needs of the most impoverished residents. Despite all the successful programs we deliver, our current facilities have reached their full capacity are no longer adequate to meet the demand and need for services for all residents and we have no space to add new programs or services our community needs. Many who need our programs and facilities to develop healthy lifestyles, obtain food or improve and extend their lives cannot be served.  This particularly impacts the elderly and impoverished, who cannot afford health club memberships and who obtain these services charitably from the YMCA.  There is strong local support for the project as evidenced by the fact that we have raised over $1,250,000 in private donations from just 18 gifts. Our state senator has endorsed the project with $750,000 of financial support from the state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. We have the local support of all our regional elected officials for this project including the county commissioners, Berwick mayor and borough council, State Representative Millard and State Senator Gordner as well as other community leaders, all who will provide letters of support. We receive broad coverage and recognition from local media outlets on a regular basis. The YMCA is extremely popular with our local community, as one in three residents use the YMCA for some program or service each year. We are the largest provider of childcare services in the county and one of the largest providers of food programs per capita in northeast PA.

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Name: Borough of Jim Thorpe’s Facilities Upgrade Project

Request Amount: $2,500,000

Intended Recipient: Jim Thorpe Borough

Full Street Address of the Intended Recipient: 101 East 10th Street, Jim Thorpe PA 18229

Signed Financial Disclosure Letter

Explanation of the request:  

Jim Thorpe Borough, located in northeast Pennsylvania in Carbon County is a small town with a bustling tourism industry. In recent years, the Borough has outgrown its current municipal complex including its municipal building, Memorial Hall. The building is in need of repairs and renovations. The hall currently offers vital services to residents including food pantry services for low-income and elderly residents, vaccine clinics, including recent COVID vaccine distribution, and emergency shelter services. The Facilities Upgrade Project would allow Jim Thorpe to relocate and expand these vital services offered to residents of the borough through Memorial Hall. The funding of $2,500,000 to renovate of Memorial Hall will provide the Borough of Jim Thorpe an opportunity to provide much needed renewal and expansion of their community center that offers important services to the citizens of Jim Thorpe. In addition to renovating their current space, this project would allow the Borough to relocate their police and administrative offices into the new Memorial Hall, providing greater service and security to the citizens of Jim Thorpe.

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Name: Study for the Restoration of Passenger Rail Service Between Berks County and Philadelphia.

Request Amount: $1,000,000

Intended Recipient: County of Berks

Full Street Address of the Intended Recipient: 633 Court Street Reading, PA 19601

Signed Financial Disclosure Letter

Explanation of the request:

Two recent studies have emphasized not only the feasibility of restoring passenger train service between Berks County, Pennsylvania and Philadelphia, but have also underscored the impact that this will have on the regional economy, the environment and transportation infrastructure.  The three counties through which this service will travel have formed a joint committee to explore creating a Municipal Authority to develop the service.  It is envisioned that passengers will be able to move between communities along the corridor to Center City Philadelphia and beyond.  Both studies estimate that more 2 million trips will be made along the corridor annually.  As vehicular traffic has created increased congestion along the highways serving these communities and travel times have dramatically increased, passenger rail service becomes an efficient and effective way to move people along the corridor.  Recent developments in the communities which will be served by this service, such as Drexel University launching a Medical School adjacent to Reading, will increase the importance of returning passenger service. 

A portion of the corridor that would be used for this service is owned by Norfolk-Southern and is used for freight train service.  To move ahead with the full project, we will need to identify the capital investments that will be required by Norfolk-Southern (NS) in order to allow passenger trains to use their corridor.  NS  will require a capacity analysis and an environmental assessment, which will identify the improvements that will have to be made to the rail line to allow passenger trains.  This work is important to securing public and private funding to support these capital improvements. The funding from this grant, if awarded, would support the studies required by Norfolk-Southern.

It is estimated that restoration of passenger rail service along this corridor will result in a 5 percent reduction in vehicular traffic on the highways now used for traveling between the communities along this corridor.  Travel times between Reading and Philadelphia continue to increase.  Passenger rail service would provide faster and cheaper service between Reading and the other stations along the corridor (Pottstown, Phoenixville and Royersford) to Philadelphia.  Moreover, it is possible that the restored service could allow passengers to not only travel to Philadelphia, but further to New York and Washington, as well as points in between.

This is much more than a transportation project.  It is estimated the restoration of passenger rail service will result in over $1 billion in increased property value in the core communities that will serve as the local stations.  This includes both new development and redevelopment of urban properties in cities like Reading and Pottstown.  One anticipated result of the Covid-19 Pandemic experience is the impact that it could have on smaller cities that can offer amenities, including access to passenger rail service.  The Drexel Medical School, which potentially will serve 400 medical students and the requisite faculty and staff is a harbinger of this development.  It is estimated that the restoration of passenger rail service will increase local and state revenues along the corridor as well. 

The transportation and economic benefits of this project are significant.  So is the environmental impact.  Fewer cars on the road is one obvious way in which this impact will be felt.  The trains are a more efficient way to move people, resulting in lower emissions.  One of the options being explored for the engines to be used is a dual-powered locomotive that could use both overhead and battery powered electricity as fuel.  As evidenced in other communities which have introduced or expanded passenger rail service, there could be significant redevelopment of properties at or near the urban stations along the corridor, which could have the indirect benefit of encouraging development in already developed areas rather than in green space.

The reestablishment of passenger rail as an intercity service will have significantly greater economic impact on jobs, income, and tax base expansion, as well as property development (TOD) than a commuter service.  The Feasibility study suggests that over 30 years it would create –

  • 28,000 person years of work
  • $1.4 Billion of income generation
  • over $1 Billion of new property development and existing property value increases
  • and nearly $1 Billion expansion of the local and federal tax base

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Name: Columbia Street Arch Bridge

Request Amount: $2,000,000

Intended Recipient: Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance

Full Street Address of the Intended Recipient: 1151 Oak Street, Pittston, PA 18640

Signed Financial Disclosure Letter

Explanation of the request:  

This project involves a replacement of the bridge carrying Columbia Street (PA 443) over the Schuylkill River in Schuylkill Haven Borough, Schuylkill County.  The Columbia Street Arch bridge is 100 years old, originally constructed in 1921. The bridge is currently in poor condition and is in need of a full replacement.

The Columbia Street Arch Bridge carries State Route 443 over the Schuylkill River in the borough of Schuylkill Haven.  The Schuylkill River run throughs the borough of Schuylkill Haven, dividing it into two sections.  The bridge carries significant traffic including emergency vehicles, school buses and transit buses with an average daily traffic of 10,447 vehicles.  The bridge also carries pedestrian traffic, however, the sidewalk on one side of the bridge was closed in 2018 due to concerns about deterioration.  Replacement of the bridge will ensure safe crossing for vehicles and pedestrians between the two sections of Schuylkill Haven.  Closure of the bridge will result in a significant detour with the closest Schuylkill River crossing outside of Schuylkill Haven in the Borough of Cressona.  This would have an impact on emergency response because the Schuylkill Haven Police Department is located on the east side of Schuylkill Haven and closure of the bridge would delay response time for incidents on the west side of the borough.

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Name: Independence Street Downtown Makeover (Implementation project from GoShamokin Revitalization Plan)

Request Amount: $2,675,000

Intended Recipient: City of Shamokin

Full Street Address of the Intended Recipient: 47 East Lincoln Street, Shamokin, PA 17872

Signed Financial Disclosure Letter 

Explanation of the request:

Independence Street Makeover:

  • Limited Field Survey sufficient for construction plan preparation, most notably intersections for ADA upgrades.
  • Hardscape Improvement plans that would focus on the replacing the existing unit accent pavers, repairing any damaged concrete sidewalks, and upgrading ADA ramps and crosswalks. Curblines would remain as is except as are required at intersection to upgrade for current ADA compliance and the redesign the northern curb-line of the block from Washington to Rock Streets, where the street is currently very wide; drainage improvements.
  • New crosswalk marking plans or crosswalk treatments (i.e. texture paving) will be prepared.
  • A street tree planting plan will be developed.
  • A streetscape amenities plan that includes replacing light fixtures, benches, trash/recycling receptables, and vertical planters to provide additional greenery in place and in addition to street trees, depending on the location. Planting plans for the planter will be prepared.

Shamokin (0.8 square mile) is a post-industrial city located in Northumberland County that had boomed in the late nineteenth century but has struggled to maintain economic vitality since the decline of the mining and textile industries.

The GoShamokin Revitalization Project responds to a special Shamokin community driven desire to proactively invent itself with fresh initiatives that will enable community members to revitalize itself with fresh initiatives by harnessing new opportunities, such as the recent influx in tourism through the introduction of over 8,500 acres of former coal lands in the Shamokin Area which now comprise the Northumberland County Anthracite Outdoor Recreation Area (AOAA).  The AOAA is a family-friendly motorized and non-motorized recreation facility that attracts 30,000 visitors annually.  In addition, there are such tourist attractions such as nearby Knoebels Amusement Park, Weiser State Forest, PSSA Valley Gun & Country Club that attract nearly 1.5 million visitors collectively to the Shamokin Area each year. 

The city of Shamokin is experiencing an economic rebirth but is an Act 47 Commonwealth designated distressed 3rd class city.  Economic development strategies and thoughtful design initiatives are necessary steps to accomplish meaningful transformation to further support the efforts already occurring. The creation of successful places is a function of a thoughtfully considered mixes of uses, location, design and supporting infrastructure systems; working together to form economically vibrant and sustainable building blocks of an overall town.

Independence Street is the city’s main commercial corridor and is located 2 blocks from the Sunbury Street/Route 61. The downtown benefits from not being a heavily trafficked through-put arterial roadway, making it more pedestrian-oriented and suitable for main street-type development.  While PennDOT has listed improvements to Sunbury Street/Route 61 on the Long-Range Transportation Plan (TIP) for the region, the project is not currently funded for design.  There are no long-range plans or funding options for the downtown makeover to Independence St.

The biggest barrier to pedestrian mobility in the downtown is the intersection crossings.  Performing a makeover of Independence Street (which is located in a Federal Opportunity Zone and eligible Historic District) is an imperative initiative in the community to upgrade the downtown with a focus on ADA/safety and aesthetic improvements such as architectural lighting, planters, banners, etc. which will all have a major impact in supporting the influx of tourists, attracting new business to the downtown and creating better livability for the nearly 7,000 citizens of Shamokin.

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Name: Columbia County Phase 3 Flood Mitigation Project

Request Amount: $5,000,000

Intended Recipient: Columbia County, SEDA-Council of Governments

Full Street Address of the Intended Recipient: 201 Furnace Road, Lewisburg, PA 17837

Signed Financial Disclosure Letter

Explanation of the request:

Columbia County and the Town of Bloomsburg continue to prioritize flood risk management systems as a must when considering retention and expansion of the local economy.  This funding will help complete the third phase of a much-needed flood risk management system. This proposed structure is approximately 2,700-3,000 feet and will tie into an area near the existing Kawneer facility.  The project will serve 9 businesses and protect 470 jobs in the project area, all located in the regulatory floodplain. The County of Columbia was declared a Major Disaster by FEMA on September 12, 2011, because of historic flooding caused by Tropical Storm Lee.  During Tropical Storm Lee, more than 10 inches of rainfall was recorded over several days.  Many businesses were first hit by flooding from nearby Fishing Creek, and then again when the Susquehanna River flooded its banks and eventually crested at a record flood stage of 32.7 feet.  Without appropriate flood control systems in place, companies could shift production to other facilities outside of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in some cases, outside of the Country leaving large vacant sites and the loss of hundreds of jobs. An engineering agreement was executed on April 1, 2021, between Columbia County and Borton Lawson Engineering, Inc for the preliminary planning and design of the project. 

Appropriation funding for this flood protection system would provide the following ancillary benefits:

  • Saving of thousands of dollars in flood insurance premiums,
  • increased property values,
  • creation of jobs by attracting employees to the area.
  • flood protection and resiliency to future flooding.

This project would diversify the regional economy by providing flood protection to various types of small and large businesses, allowing them to remain in the community.  If they are flooded, the chances are greater that they will close the location and/or relocate to another area. This project will provide protection for Kawneer, manufacturer of a broad range of architectural aluminum systems from curtain walls and entrances to framing systems and windows.  This global company employs approximately 350 and is the top 5 employers in Columbia County.


Surface Transportation Reauthorization Member Designated Project Request

Project Name: Route 61 Revitalization

Project Location: PA 61 between Saint Clair and Frackville Boroughs in Schuylkill County, PA

Project Sponsor: Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance/PennDOT

Requested Amount: $15,200,000

Member Certification Form

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Project Name: 222 from 61 to BUS 222

Project Location: Berks County, PA

Project Sponsor: PennDOT

Requested Amount: $5,545,480

Member Certification Form