Blake Announces Over $150K in Safe Schools Targeted Grants

SCRANTON, October 4, 2018 – State Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) today announced that five school districts in the 22nd Senatorial District have been awarded over $150,000 in Safe Schools Targeted Grants.

The local grant funding is part of an $8.4 million investment announced today by Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera and Governor Tom Wolf to increase safety and security in our schools.

“I applaud the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Wolf Administration for their continued focus on our schools, our students and their safety,” Blake said. “This important grant funding will allow schools across the Commonwealth to purchase security-related equipment and hire School Police Officers which will protect learning environments and ensure every student returns home safely.”

Both Scranton and Riverside School Districts in Lackawanna County received equipment grants which will allow the purchase of security-related equipment to increase safety at school. Scranton School District will receive $25,000 and Riverside School District will receive $20,206 in state funding. Equipment eligible for purchase with grant funding includes identification systems, metal detectors, protective lighting, surveillance equipment, emergency communications equipment and training in the use of security-related technology.

Carbondale Area, Valley View and Pittston Area each received funding for the training and compensation of School Police Officers (SPOs), who are employed directly by the school districts. Carbondale Area will receive $39,500, Valley View School District will receive $30,240 and Pittston Area will receive $39,690 in grant funding. School districts were eligible to receive a maximum of $40,000 in SPO funding for Year 1 and $20,000 for year two.

Blake noted that the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Safe Schools grant program is separate from the new $60 million School Safety and Security Grants program created earlier this year. Schools can still apply for those grants through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency through October 12. 

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Blake Announces Over $1.8 Million in Regional Grant Funding

HARRISBURG, September 18, 2018 – State Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) today announced $1.8 million in state grants for 13 projects throughout the 22nd Senatorial District.

The grant funding was approved earlier today at a meeting of the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) and was awarded through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development under the Small Water and Sewer Program; Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program; and the Flood Mitigation Program.

“State investments are critically important to our regional economy, to the continued maintenance of our public infrastructure and to the quality of life for Pennsylvania residents,” Blake said. “The $1.8 million in grants announced today will allow our local municipalities to complete important sewer projects, enhance recreational opportunities and improve flood protection. I applaud our borough and township officials for their work in securing these competitive state investments.”

The largest area grants were awarded through the Small Water and Sewer program which provides grants to municipalities to assist with the construction, improvement, expansion, or rehabilitation or repair of a water supply or sanitary sewer system.

The following NEPA projects received funding through the Small Water and Sewer Program:

  • The Covington Township Sewer Authority received $381,480 for the purchase of screening equipment
  • The Roaring Brook Township Sewer Authority received $247,282 to make upgrades to their system.
  • Clarks Green Borough received $200,000 to complete a sanitary sewer line investigation for the portions of their sanitary sewer system that have not already been evaluated and to rehabilitate sections of the sanitary system that require repairs.
  • Vandling Borough received $160,000 to complete the Peterlin Road sewer project.
  • Throop Borough received $150,000 to make sewer improvements along Pearl Street.
  • Blakely Borough received $150,000 for their S. Pleasant Ave. Sanitary Sewer Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project.
  • Avoca Borough received $131,750 to replace the sanitary sewer on Wood Street from McAlpine Street to School Street in the borough
  • Dickson City Borough received $88,212 for their Dundaff Street project.
  • Waverly Township received $42,616 for their pump station #2 replacement project.

Three projects in Lackawanna County received funding through the Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program.  This program was funded through the Marcellus Legacy Fund established by Act 13 of 2012 and allocates funds for planning, acquisition, development, rehabilitation and repair of greenways, recreational trails, open space, parks and beautification projects. A 15% match of the total project cost is required.

The following Lackawanna County projects received Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program grant funding:

  • Lackawanna County received $80,534 to complete phase two of the Scranton Veterans Memorial Park that will include the construction of a monument bearing the names of close to 1,000 veterans from Scranton.
  • The William Prescott Parent Teacher Association received $75,000 for the installation of a new playground and fencing at the elementary school in Scranton
  • Jermyn Borough received $42,466 to complete significant rehabilitation of the heavily-used gymnasium floor at the Jermyn Community Center

Lastly, Mayfield Borough received $52,078 through the Flood Mitigation Program to complete debris removal, repair and video inspection of the borough’s flood control levee system.

The Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) was established in 2004 as an independent agency of the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).  The CFA consists of seven Board members: four legislative appointees and the secretaries of DCED, the Office of the Budget and Department of Banking and Securities. Project approval requires five affirmative votes, four of which must come from legislative appointees.

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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 Encourages Local Schools to Apply for Safety and Security Grants

SCRANTON, September 12, 2018 – State Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) today encouraged local school districts to apply for funding through a new state grant program designed to improve school safety.

The new School Safety and Security Grant Program, which was created as part of the 2018-19 state budget, will provide $52.5 million in grant funding to school entities for programs that address safety and security.

“The safety of our students, our teachers and our schools is paramount and this grant funding will certainly improve the security of our learning environments,” Blake said.  “I encourage all of our school districts and educational institutions to take advantage of this new program that will significantly upgrade school safety programs and procedures across the Commonwealth.”

Blake noted that eligible uses of the grant funding include hiring of school security officers; purchase of security-related technology; safety and security assessments; implementation of violence prevention curricula; counseling services for students; and other programs and services that improve school safety and security.

Per the grant program, each school district that submits a justifiable application to improve school safety for an activity not already supported through other state of federal funding sources shall receive a minimum grant allocation of $25,000 annually. There is also competitive grant funding available in the program to school districts, intermediate units, area vocational technical schools, charter schools and private residential rehabilitative institutions.

All applications must be submitted electronically through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) Egrants system PCCD’s Egrants no later than Friday, October 12. For more information on the grant program, visit www.pccd.pa.gov/schoolsafety. School officials should contact the PCCD Egrants Help Desk at 717-787-5887 with any questions.

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Blake Announces Nearly $4 Million in PennDOT Grants for Lackawanna County Projects

SCRANTON, May 8, 2018 – State Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) today announced that four Lackawanna County projects will receive nearly $4 million in grants through the Surface Transportation Block Grant program and Transportation Alternatives (TA) Set-Aside.

The funding was announced today by Governor Tom Wolf and PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards as part of a nearly $67 million investment in 82 projects across the Commonwealth.

“I applaud the Governor and Secretary Richards for their continued support of our region and their dedication to innovation and access to transportation alternatives and recreation,” Blake said. “The Lackawanna River Heritage Trail continues to be one of the strongest drivers of economic activity and the funding announced today will further strengthen its impact and connectivity between our local communities.” 

The following projects in Lackawanna County received grant funding:

  • The City of Scranton will receive $1 million to connect the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail to the Steamtown National Historic Site and downtown Scranton with a pedestrian bridge.
  • Dickson City will receive $991,110 for streetscaping, safety improvements and a bike path connecting to the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail.
  • Keystone College will receive $917,815 to provide pedestrians and bicyclists a safe route to travel along College Road and also connect to the seven miles of public trails in the area of the campus.
  • The Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority will receive $200,000 to construct a 0.9 mile paved trail from Parker Street in Scranton to Boulevard Avenue in Dickson City – closing a major gap in the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail. This funding supplements a $800,000 TA Set-Aside award from the Lackawanna and Luzerne Transportation Study MPO.

The TA Set-Aside provides funding for projects and activities defined as transportation alternatives, including on- and off-road pedestrian and bicycle facilities, infrastructure projects for improving non-driver access to public transportation and enhanced mobility, community improvement activities, and environmental mitigation, trails that serve a transportation purpose, and safe routes to school projects.

Blake noted that PennDOT evaluated the applications and made selections of awards based on safety benefit; cost; readiness for implementation; statewide or regional significance; and the integration of land-use and transportation decision making.

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