Blake Announces $1.5 Million in Grants for Two Area Projects

SCRANTON, September 13, 2018 – State Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) today announced that two area projects will receive $1.5 million in state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grants.

“Our region continues to see the great benefits of the RACP program and how state funding coupled with private investment can positively impact communities,” Blake said. “I appreciate Governor Wolf’s continued dedication to redevelopment, job creation and education.”

In Scranton, a development project in the 600 block of Wyoming Ave. received $1 million to convert an abandoned six-story warehouse into professional office space.

“The City of Scranton has a pressing need for modern, professional office space in the downtown footprint,” Blake added. “This project will transform a previously abandoned block and attract new and growing business into downtown Scranton.”

Also in Lackawanna County, Carbondale Area School District received $500,000 to upgrade HVAC, lighting and security at the school district.

“Governor Wolf has been a powerful advocate for public education and this grant funding will not only result in future cost savings for Carbondale Area, but it will also allow the district to utilize more of their available funds in the coming years on instruction and other education programs,” Blake said.

RACP is a commonwealth grant program administered by the Governor’s Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic and community development improvement projects.  The program requires a dollar for dollar match in non-state funding in the project and all project related expenses must be incurred and satisfied in advance of approved reimbursements from the state.

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Blake Announces $5.5 Million for Area Redevelopment Projects

SCRANTON, December 21, 2017 – State Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) today announced that five Lackawanna County redevelopment projects will receive $5.5 million in state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grants.

“RACP funding awards reinvigorate communities throughout the state and leverage significant non-state investment to bolster regional economies,” Blake said. “I applaud Governor Tom Wolf for his commitment to the continued development of our region and for his continued dedication to driving state investments into critically important economic development projects across the Commonwealth.”

The RACP funding was announced earlier today by Governor Tom Wolf and included $1 million Lackawanna County to complete a large-scale consolidation of County agencies and operations at the former Globe Store on Wyoming Avenue in the City of Scranton. 

“This project, which has been in planning for years, will enable cost savings and greater efficiency by establishing what is essentially a one stop shop for county government services,” Blake said. “The consolidation in one convenient location in the heart of the City is not only good for the County’s bottom line but it is good for all residents of Lackawanna County who must access a wide variety of County services on a daily basis.” 

Carbondale Development Partners received $1.5 million to complete a large-scale redevelopment plan for multiple acres along Main Street in the heart of the city’s business district. 

“This project will finalize years of revitalization efforts and attract commercial investment between two major intersections along Main Street in downtown Carbondale,” Blake said. “The City’s central business district has benefited from past state investment and this RACP funding is integral to the city’s continued economic growth and success.”

The Scranton Counseling Center (SCC) project received $1 million to continue the work to relocate SCC into a new facility in South Scranton.

“The relocation of the Scranton Counseling Center will not only provide a 21st century working environment for hundreds of doctors, nurses, social workers and other health care professionals in South Scranton but it will free up for development the 300 block of Adams Avenue in Central City which is ripe for new private investment,” Blake added.

The Dickson City Revitalization Project received $1 million to construct new commercial office space and a warehouse facility in and around the rear 200-400 blocks of Main Street in the Borough.  The 11-acre site contains blighted warehouse structures that will be demolished and the new facility will contain the headquarters for TES, Inc. and Stonerun Trucking.

Lastly, the Just Believe Recovery Center in Carbondale received $1 million to add an additional 12 detox rooms and 12 rehab rooms to their existing operation. It will also help the facility fit out rooms for their Outpatient Clinic and CAN school as well as to add men’s sober living rooms.

“I have and I continue to support Governor Wolf’s efforts to invest in battling the opioid epidemic by placing significant emphasis on expanding access to treatment and diverting those suffering from substance use disorder away from the criminal justice system and into supportive programs,” Blake added. “This funding will allow Just Believe to continue the good work they are doing for NEPA families struggling with addiction.”

RACP is a commonwealth grant program administered by the Governor’s Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic and community development improvement projects.  The program requires a dollar for dollar match in non-state funding in the project and all project related expenses must be incurred and satisfied in advance of approved reimbursements from the state.

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Sen. Blake Announces Student Ambassador Program

HARRISBURG, Oct. 18, 2013 – State Sen. John Blake today said he is encouraging dedicated high school seniors to apply to become student ambassadors.

Blake’s Student Ambassador Program is an opportunity for one senior from each of the 17 high schools in the 22nd Senatorial District to learn about citizenship, public service and state lawmaking.

“This program offers a unique opportunity for students who may have an interest in public service and who want to make a positive difference in their communities,” the senator said. “I am looking forward to engaging serious young women and men who are interested in the hard work of government and in offering them an insider’s view of the lawmaking process.”

Students from Abington Heights, Carbondale, Dunmore, Forest City, Holy Cross, Lackawanna Trail, Lakeland, Mid Valley, North Pocono, Old Forge, Pittston Area, Pocono Mountain, Riverside, Scranton, Scranton Prep, Valley View and West Scranton are eligible to apply for Sen. Blake’s Student Ambassador Program.

Applications for the program are available in each school’s guidance office.

Between December and May, student ambassadors will participate in a schedule of events and presentations with the senator and his staff — including time at the State Capitol — and all will compete for college scholarship assistance through the completion of a critical thinking project and presentation.

For more information, contact Sen. Blake’s district office, 570-207-2881 or review information posted online at www.senatorblake.com.

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Blake Weighs Good & Bad in State Budget

HARRISBURG, July 1, 2013 – After giving careful consideration to the $ 28.37 billion budget approved Sunday by the state Senate, Sen. John Blake said he voted against the 2013-’14 spending plan.

“There are several important line items in the budget that signal good news to Pennsylvanians but they are outweighed by investments that are not there or are insufficient,” Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) said.

The good news, Blake said, is the budget increases Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s appropriation by $8 million to $87.3 million and includes $2.5 million for a mobile crime unit that is important for Northeast PA. He said he also likes that the budget delivers much needed funding for strategic upgrades in technology for Auditor General Eugene DePasquale’s office.

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Additionally, the senator said he applauds the $150,000 increase for regional cancer institutes, the reappearance of state support of the Civil Air Patrol, additional support for Heritage Parks; more money for three new state police cadet classes; and increases in commitments to serve veterans and their families.

However, Blake listed several other areas of the budget that, taken together, were reason enough to vote against it.

“A major reason is this budget simply does not go far enough in helping our children in public education,” Blake said. “It flat funds special education, misses the opportunity to help distressed school districts and still underfunds public schools all over Pennsylvania that continue to struggle with the $1 billion in cuts rendered in the governor’s first budget. These are cuts that have resulted in massive teacher layoffs, increased class sizes and higher local property taxes.”

With the 2013-’14 budget, Pennsylvania holds its special education funding at $1.026 billion despite extraordinary pressure on local school districts to meet rising costs and responsibilities in this area.

Other shortcomings of the budget, according to Sen. Blake:

  • Insufficient funding for proven job-creation programs at the Department of Community and Economic Development, or DCED;
  • No additional investment for Scranton, Carbondale and other struggling PA small cities;
  • The budget will carry forward an estimated $500 million in unspent funds left to the discretion of the Governor that could have helped meet some pressing and more immediate needs;
  • It includes budget gimmicks and shifting of funds for nearly $90 million in spending that is not obvious to PA taxpayers; and
  • It unnecessarily delays Medicaid expansion, which will delay $150 million in federal aid to relieve state spending.

 

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