Harrisburg–Governor Tom Corbett today announced that the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) recently awarded $414,000 in Keystone Communities grants to two entities in Lawrence County to create a strategic plan to redevelop underutilized properties and to assist low-income residents seeking mechanical certifications and experience.
“These partnerships will help to improve the lives of local residents and strengthen the communities of Lawrence County,” Gov. Corbett said. “By transforming vacant properties and training local residents for jobs, we are helping Lawrence County’s economy grow.”
The Allied Coordinated Transportation Services, Inc., (ACTS), a provider of door-to-door transportation services for Lawrence County low-income residents, was awarded a $384,000 grant to support renovations of a centralized fleet operations and training maintenance center.
Through the use of the Keystone Communities grant, ACTS will be able to offer general maintenance and mechanical repairs as a low-cost option for ACTS fleet and two other Lawrence County agency fleets. In addition, the center will also offer training for low-income individuals seeking mechanical certifications and experience to work within the Marcellus Shale industries.
“The Keystone Communities grant will complete the final phase of a centralized fleet maintenance center that will serve over 60 para-transit, school buses and corporate asset vehicles on a daily basis saving the agency $75,000 annually on its general maintenance budget,” said Thomas Scott, CEO, Lawrence County Community Action Partnership. “At a time of tight fiscal budgets, this savings represents a 25 percent reduction in costs to the agency.”
“This investment to Allied Coordinated Transportation Services, Inc., will help the non-profit better serve their customers’ transportation needs,” Senator Elder Vogel Jr. (R-47) said. “In addition to centralizing their maintenance operations, ACTS will be able to offer hands-on training to job seekers looking to become qualified mechanics. These positions are in high demand as the gas industry continues to expand in the region.”
The City of New Castle was awarded a $30,000 planning grant to support the evaluation of vacant and underutilized properties throughout the city.
The Keystone Communities grant will provide funding to support the preparation of a comprehensive listing of properties and cultivate a strategic plan to redevelop the properties.
“The support from DCED helps the city continue to work towards meeting Act 47 objectives and, in this case, identifying key large parcels of property and brownfields,” said Matt Staniszewski, New Castle’s Director of Community and Economic Development. ”In looking at these properties, a use and marketing analysis will be performed to help bring these parcels to more productive use for industrial, commercial and residential opportunities.”
“This is more positive news for New Castle,” Senator Vogel Jr. said. “This funding will help the city identify and market vacant and blighted properties for future economic development and job growth. This is a key component of New Castle’s Recovery Plan.”
The Keystone Communities program was created in 2011 to assist commonwealth communities in achieving redevelopment. The program supports physical improvements to both designated and other communities that are undertaking revitalization to restore deteriorated downtowns, residential neighborhoods and industrial/manufacturing sites.
For more information about the Keystone Communities program and other community development initiatives, visit www.newPA.com or call 1-866-466-3972.
Valerie Caras, Governor’s Office, 717-783-1116
Heidi Havens, DCED, 717-783-1132