Blake Annouces $ 1 Million State Grant for Scranton Counseling Center Relocation

SCRANTON, November 23, 2016 State Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) today applauded the announcement of a $1 million state grant for a project that will relocate the Scranton Counseling Center and open up prime space in downtown Scranton for new development.

The $1 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) funding, announced by Governor Tom Wolf earlier today, will fund the relocation of the Scranton Counseling Center (SCC) into a new, state-of-the-art facility on South Washington Ave. in Scranton. The new facility will significantly improve the center’s ability to meet the diverse behavioral health needs of NEPA residents.

“The relocation of one of our area’s most successful rehabilitation and counseling facilities will not only serve the professionals employed at the SCC and their clients but it will create a future redevelopment opportunity in an historic block in the heart of downtown Scranton,” Blake said. “The 300 block of Adams Avenue in Scranton is already in the midst of a renaissance and I am certain that the re-purposing of the former Sears building where SCC is currently housed would attract significant private investment and commercial development.”

Blake noted that the current building housing SCC is obsolete and has not had significant improvements in over three decades. The new facility would consolidate the important services provided by the SCC into one building and also solve parking problems at their current Adams Avenue location. It is estimated that the relocation would create over 50 construction jobs and retain 250 jobs in downtown Scranton.

“I applaud the work of Governor Wolf and his administration for identifying this project as a priority and, again, delivering significant state funding to Scranton and to Lackawanna County,” Blake added. “The RACP grant program has been transformative for our region and I am certain that the relocation of the SCC and the prospects for new development in downtown Scranton will prove to be a prudent state investment.”

Blake worked closely with state Rep. Marty Flynn to secure the state funding that will ensure the success of the project and expedite the timeline for the nearly $9 million project.

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Blake Applauds $ 1.5 Million RACP for Life Sciences Business Park in Mayfield

SCRANTON, October 28, 2016 – State Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) today applauded the announcement of a $1.5 million state grant for the development of a Life Sciences Business Park in Mayfield Borough.

The $1.5 million grant, awarded to the NorthEast Environmental Technology Center Associates through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), will be utilized to establish a Life Sciences Business Park in Mayfield Borough. The project includes the redevelopment of an existing 95,000 square foot office building into a Life Sciences and Environmental Technology Incubator and developing an adjacent 16-acre parcel for the construction of two additional buildings totaling 210,000 square feet.

“The redevelopment of the existing structure into a Life Sciences and Environmental Technology Incubator will undoubtedly bring family sustaining jobs, private investment and economic development to Mayfield Borough,” Blake said. “When completed, a formerly underutilized and underperforming asset will become a state-of-the-art environmental technology incubator and will ensure our county and our communities can further capitalize on innovation in the life sciences and environmental protection. I applaud Governor Wolf and his team for identifying the importance of this project to our region and delivering this vital state funding to Lackawanna County.”

Blake noted that the total business park would be nearly 300,000 square feet when complete.

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Blake, Gov. Wolf Announce State Investment, Expansion of Simplex Industries

IMG_4367Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf and state Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe)  today announced that Simplex Industries, Inc., a custom manufacturer of modular homes and light commercial buildings, will expand operations in Scranton, Lackawanna County, and will create 40 new jobs.

“It’s a great honor to announce that a third generation manufacturer that started here is now growing here,” Governor Wolf said. “Manufacturing is a critical part of Pennsylvania’s economy, and we’re proud to support the innovative technologies taking hold here and within the industry all across the commonwealth.”

Simplex Industries will re-engineer both of its manufacturing plants to modernize machines and equipment to integrate 3D printing technology, which will provide cost and operational efficiencies. The company will invest more than $3 million in the project, and has also committed to creating 40 new, full-time jobs, while retaining 215 existing positions over the next three years.

“Simplex Industries remains committed to providing quality modular products and also providing good, local jobs here in Lackawanna County,” said Patrick Fricchione, president and CEO, Simplex Industries, Inc. “This impactful investment will help us leverage technology to help expand our family owned company, and we’re excited to partner with the Governor’s Action Team and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

Simplex Industries received a funding proposal from the Department of Community and Economic Development that includes $80,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits to be distributed upon creation of the new jobs, $18,000 in WEDnetPA funding for employee training, and a $100,000 Pennsylvania First program grant.

“Simplex Industries has always been on the cutting edge of the manufacturing industry and this funding will help inspire their next generation of innovation as they continue to make smart investments to remain a leader in their industry,” Sen. John Blake added. “I sincerely appreciate the commitment of the Fricchione family to our community by making such a significant investment in technology and innovation here in Lackawanna County.”

IMG_4379“I’m happy to join in announcing this great news and congratulating Simplex Industries on the expansion,” said Rep. Marty Flynn. “Like workers all over northeastern Pennsylvania, the people at this company are committed to the work they do and they are helping to make a stronger economic future for all of us.”

The project was coordinated by the Governor’s Action Team, an experienced group of economic development professionals who report directly to the governor and work with businesses that are considering locating or expanding in Pennsylvania, in collaboration with Lackawanna County Business and Economic Development, the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, and the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce.

“Ben Franklin Technology Partners NEP provided assistance to Simplex Industries, allowing the company to leverage technology to become one of the leaders within their industry,” said Kenneth Okrepkie, regional manager, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania. “By working with the Enterprise Systems Center at Lehigh University, Ben Franklin was able to bring resources to Simplex Industries that allow the firm to strategically position itself as a thought leader within the modular construction industry. This project is another fine example of collaboration within the economic development community as the Governor’s Action Team, Lackawanna County Economic Development, The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, and Ben Franklin Technology Partners NEP worked together to strengthen a family owned business that employs hundreds of people within one of our region’s urban centers, the city of Scranton.”

Simplex Industries was founded in 1971 by the Fricchione brothers and is headquartered in Scranton. Simplex Industries remains a family owned and operated company, and it is one of the oldest continually operating modular manufacturers in the country.

For more information on Simplex Industries, visit www.simplexhomes.com.

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Blake Applauds DEP Grant for Clarks Summit Water Quality Project

SCRANTON, June 30, 2016 – State Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) today announced that Clarks Summit Borough has been awarded a $167,604 state grant to complete a much-needed water quality revitalization project.

The grant, which was part of a $2.2 million investment by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in 19 stormwater projects in the Susquehanna River watershed, will be used for a rain garden and tree planting in the borough.

“I applaud Mayor Patty Lawler and borough officials for taking initiative and drawing down this important state funding to improve the water quality for borough residents,” Blake said. “It is important that the state and local municipalities continue to partner and fund projects that preserve our natural resources, improve our water quality and protect public health.”

Blake said that the grants are part of the Local Stormwater Best Management Practice (BMP) Implementation Program, which helps reduce sediment and nutrient runoff into waterways. Currently, the grants are limited to communities within the Chesapeake Bay watershed and many of the projects have financial matching or in-kind contributions in addition to the DEP grant.

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Blake Announces $900K State Grant for Abington Community Park Project

HARRISBURG, September 14, 2011 – – State Sen. John P. Blake (D- Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) today announced the release of a $900,000 state grant for the Abington Community Park project.

“This state grant will not only allow the Abington Community Park to improve and expand its facilities, but it will also increase visitation, which could positively impact the local economy,” Blake said. “I applaud the hard work of everyone involved that made this much-deserved state grant possible for the South Abington community and the Abington Area Joint Recreation Board.”

Blake said some of the improvements include the rehabilitation of playing fields, developing hiking and biking trails, constructing a boardwalk to provide fishing access to Wilson Lake, enhancing existing walkway systems to accommodate disabled citizens, and improving existing parking and driveway access areas. 

The state grant, initially authorized in 2010 by the Rendell Administration through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), had been under review by the Corbett Administration.   This program requires a dollar-for-dollar match of non-state funding in the amount of the RACP grant award and, as such, the total value of improvements to the park will be at least $1.8 million

The 97.5 acre Abington Community Park is located just west of Clarks Summit Borough in South Abington Township.