Zelienople was recently awarded a $3 million state grant for a major downtown improvement project including the restoration of the historic Kaufman House, according to state Senators Elder Vogel, Randy Vulakovich and Scott Hutchinson, state Representative Jim Marshall and former state Representative Dick Stevenson.
The project, based on a comprehensive master plan adopted by the borough in 2010, encompasses Zelienople’s Central Business District, specifically the Main Street corridor bordered by Northview Drive, High Street, Culvert Street and Clay Street. Plans call for infrastructure, paving and sidewalk improvements, the installation of decorative lighting and landscaping with the goal of encouraging the development of specialty shops, restaurants, office space downtown.
Senator Vogel said the project will position the downtown area to capitalize on the anticipated spin-off industrial growth from the proposed Shell cracking plant in nearby Monaca and the recent growth and improvements to the Zelienople Airport.
“This project is a great example of collaborative effort between many local agencies, including the Borough of Zelienople, Butler County Commissioners, Zelienople PA Revitalization, Inc., and the Butler County Tourism and Convention Bureau,” said Senator Vogel. “Their collaborative effort will drive this project through completion and allow for the residents of Zelienople and the region to enjoy a revitalized and economically thriving business district. It’s going to be a huge boost for Zelienople. To get the community college involved and the Kaufman House up and running, it’s a great win-win for everybody.”
Senator Vulakovich agreed that the proposed cracker plant makes Zelienople’s grant request even more attractive for state support.
“Zelienople has had few, if any, requests for state funding over the years and I felt that this was certainly a worthwhile project.” Senator Vulakovich said. “It really is a beautiful town and I believe it has the potential to see major economic development in the future, especially once the cracker plant comes on line.”
While the funding is dedicated specifically to Zelienople, the project will provide economic benefits for communities throughout southwestern Butler County, said Senator Hutchinson.
“As Zelienople becomes a destination for specialty shops and restaurants, the thriving downtown will provide benefits for the region as well,” said Senator Hutchinson. “This will improve the quality of life for everyone, not to mention the economic boost through the new jobs that will be created.”
Before his retirement from the General Assembly on November 30, former state Representative Stevenson worked to support the borough’s successful quest for the state funding.
“I am so pleased to see that Zelienople has been awarded this funding and will use this grant to improve its downtown,” said former Representative Stevenson. “In order for a community to thrive, a solid infrastructure is essential, and this state investment will go a long way toward ensuring a bright future for Zelienople and its downtown business district.”
Representative Marshall said he was especially pleased that the funding will also support the renovation of the Kaufman House, which was closed after a devastating fire in 2011. The restoration will be undertaken in partnership with the Butler County Tourism and Convention Bureau and Butler County Community College’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Department.
“The Kaufman House has been a landmark in Zelienople for decades. I believe this investment in Zelienople will be a catalyst to long-term economic growth,” said Representative Marshall. “I applaud this collaboration between local government, Butler County Tourism and Convention Bureau, Butler County Community College, and private partnerships. I am honored to work with my colleagues in the House and Senate, along with the Governor’s office, to revitalize the Kaufman House and the entire Main Street of Zelienople.”
Jack Cohen, president of the Butler County Tourism and Convention Bureau, added that the Kaufman House reopening will provide a number of benefits to students and the community.
“The Kaufman House has been closed for three years due to a kitchen fire. The building is over 100 years old and is the anchor building on Main Street in Zelienople. Once we get this opened back up it will help generate new visitors and spur new economic growth in our community,” Cohen said. “The project will also work as a training center for Culinary Arts and Hospitality training with a degree in those fields from Butler County Community College. We will develop a workforce for that industry for many years to come. “
Sen. Vogel Joe Weidner (724) 774-0444 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Vulakovich Melissa Farabaugh (412) 487-6600 email@example.com
Sen. Hutchinson Justin Leventry (717) 787-9684 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Stevenson Jennifer Keaton (717) 705-2094 Jkeaton@pahousegop.com
Rep. Marshall Tracy Plevel (724) 847-1352 Tplevel@pahousegop.com
Jack Cohen (724) 234-4619 Jack@VisitButlerCounty.com