Blake Announces Nearly $ 1 Million in Conservation Grants for Local Projects

SCRANTON, December 14, 2016 – State Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) today announced nearly $1 million in state grants for four Lackawanna County projects that will upgrade local parks and enhance recreation opportunities.

The local funding is part of an over $45 million investment in 260 projects across the Commonwealth by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) through the Community Conservation Partnerships Program.

“I applaud the work of the Wolf Administration and DCNR officials for continuing to deliver significant state support for impactful local projects that will improve our local parks and recreation opportunities for Lackawanna County residents,” Blake said. “These investments are a great example of state funding making a positive impact and improving the quality of life in our communities.”

The largest local grant was a $499,900 grant awarded to the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority to continue the development of the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail in Dickson City. The grant will fund the construction of 1.1 miles of trail from Railroad Avenue to Lackawanna Avenue in the borough and other related site improvements.

The City of Scranton received $288,000 for the rehabilitation and further development of Novembrino Park on 10th Avenue in West Scranton. The project will include the construction of a splash pad, pavilion pedestrian walkway and a number of other improvements.

Olyphant Borough received $65,000 for the rehabilitation of Rep. Joseph Wargo Park at Fern Hill in the borough. The work will include renovation of the field house/concession/storage facility at the park and a number of other landscaping and site improvements.

Lastly, Countryside Conservancy received $119,000 for the acquisition of 82 acres along Hack Road in Benton Township to enhance public recreation opportunities.

The Community Conservation Partnerships Program (CCPP) is administered by DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation to provide financial and technical assistance to local governments, river and trail organizations, land trusts and other nonprofits for planning, acquisition and development of park, recreation, conservation and greenway projects.

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Sen. Blake, AG-elect Shapiro to Host Discussion on Senior Issues Tomorrow in Scranton

SCRANTON December 12, 2016 – State Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) and Attorney General-elect Josh Shapiro today announced that they will host a community forum on senior citizen abuse and the dangers of financial scams in Scranton.

The roundtable discussion will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, December 13 at 10:30 a.m. at the United Neighborhood Centers West Side Active Older Adults Community Center located at 1004 Jackson Street in Scranton.

“Our seniors worked their entire lives to have the ability to comfortably enjoy their retirement and their grandchildren and we must do our best as policymakers to protect them from financial scams and physical abuse,” Senator Blake said. “I thank Attorney General-elect Shapiro for prioritizing senior issues and for bringing this important forum to Scranton.”

The forum is part of a community-driven transition effort spearheaded by Shapiro called “Setting the People’s Priorities.” Attorney General-elect Shapiro is visiting cities and towns across the Commonwealth to hear the public’s concerns as he prepares to be sworn-in on January 17, 2017.

“To be the People’s Attorney General you need to listen and know what’s happening outside the halls of government, and that’s how I intend to do the job,” said Attorney General-Elect Josh Shapiro. “We’re continuing this new approach to a transition process to put the people’s priorities first, like the senior citizen I met in South Scranton earlier this year, worried about financial scams. With these forums, I’m hearing the public’s concerns directly from Pennsylvanians just like I’ve been doing all year.”

Other scheduled participants in the roundtable discussion include Laurie Fleming, West Side Senior Center Manger; Alex Hazzouri, President/CEO, The Advocacy Alliance; Jason Kavulich, Director, Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging; Nancy Barrasse, Solicitor, Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging; and local senior citizens Grace Zanghi and Charles Porter.

Media coverage is welcome and encouraged.

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Blake Announces $ 1.2 Million in Multimodal Grant Funding for District Projects

HARRISBURG, December 6, 2016 – State Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) today announced that three Lackawanna County projects will receive $1.2 million in grant funding through the Multimodal Transportation Fund.

The funding, approved earlier today at a meeting of the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA), is slated for projects at Keystone College, the University of Scranton and in Covington Township.

“Both the University of Scranton and Keystone College have been making incredible improvements to their respective campuses in recent years and these state investments will allow these institutions to continue to pursue their visions and ultimately, attract more students to Lackawanna County,” Blake said. “In Covington Township, the improvements to Bochicchio Boulevard are long overdue and this state funding will allow for the necessary improvements to this main thoroughfare to North Pocono High School.”

Keystone College will receive $456,660 for the construction of a pedestrian walkway and to make a number of pedestrian safety improvements on the campus in La Plume Township. The University of Scranton will receive $404,086 to complete Phase 3 of their pedestrian circulation improvement project in the center of campus. Lastly, Covington Township will receive $339,254 to make stormwater and roadway improvements on Bochicchio Boulevard.

The Multimodal Transportation Fund, through the CFA, provides grants to encourage economic development and ensure that a safe and reliable system of transportation is available to the residents of the commonwealth.

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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, Gov. Wolf Announce $ 3 Million State Investment in Lackawanna College

img_7724Scranton, PA, October 1, 2016 – Governor Tom Wolf today joined Senator John Blake to announce a $3 million state grant to aid in the redevelopment of vacant buildings in downtown Scranton into multi-use classroom and laboratory space at Lackawanna College. Once construction is complete, the six-story, 95,300 square-foot structure located at 401 Adams Avenue will be known as “Cornerstone Commons.”

“Lackawanna College has long been an institution deeply rooted in the Scranton Community,” Governor Wolf said. “The Cornerstone Commons project will not only support further growth of the college’s education programs at the main campus, but contribute to the economy of Scranton, will remove and recreate a former underutilized complex, and will help to stabilize the area from further decline.”

The $3 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant will allow Lackawanna College to complete a full renovation of the 1970s-era building, which will house classrooms, conference rooms, administrative offices, and laboratory space to support the operation of academic degree and continuing education programs.

img_7702“This $3 million grant for the Cornerstone Commons project is another extraordinary investment by the state in the City of Scranton through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program,” Sen. Blake said. “Once renovation is completed, the improved buildings and streetscape in the heart of our downtown will be used to expand academic and continuing education programs.  Governor Wolf and I are glad to announce this partnership with Lackawanna College which will leverage significant non-state investment in the future of the City and the region.”

“Lackawanna College is extremely grateful to Governor Wolf, Senator Blake, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for their investment in our project, our students, and our community,” said Mark Volk, President of Lackawanna College. “We have remained focused on providing high-quality educational opportunities at an affordable tuition level, and investments like this allow us to develop and expand exceptional programs and state-of-the art facilities without directly translating the costs to our students. Once completed, we will have taken a long-blighted property and repurposed it in a way that not only adds jobs and revenue to the city but also significantly upgrades the educational and quality of life offerings for our students.”

The project is expected to create 110 non-permanent jobs during construction, with an additional 66 new full-time jobs and 21 new part-time jobs once the project is complete.

“Lackawanna College is an integral part of our community and provides an affordable college education to area students,” said Rep. Frank Farina. “I am happy to support funding for this worthwhile project and I thank Governor Wolf for his efforts. Congratulations Lackawanna College.”