Blake Announces $1.49 Million Grant for Dupont Natural Gas Project

SCRANTON, May 14, 2020 – State Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) today announced a $1.49 million dollar state Pipeline Investment Program grant for the installation of 20,600 feet of natural gas line in Dupont Borough.

The project is a partnership between the Greater Wilkes-Barre Industrial Fund and UGI. UGI will contribute $1.49 million in matching funds to complete the nearly $3 million project.

“Pennsylvania is the second largest US producer of natural gas and it is imperative that we continue to fund projects that can deliver this low-cost, homegrown resource to families and businesses across the Commonwealth,” Blake said. “I applaud the Greater Wilkes-Barre Industrial Fund and UGI for their partnership and work on this important project for Borough residents and businesses.” 

This project will provide natural gas to 323 parcels, including eight commercial and 315 residential properties in Dupont Borough. This is Phase 3 of the project and entails the construction of 20,600 feet of natural gas distribution main along various streets within the borough. The installation of the gas line will help retain 35 jobs for existing commercial customers along the route and also provide natural gas to the under-construction 36-unit Dupont Housing for the Elderly facility.

The funding was approved today at a meeting of the Commonwealth Financing Authority. The Pipeline Investment Program is facilitated by the Department of Community and Economic Development and provides grants to construct the last few miles of natural gas distribution lines to business parks, existing manufacturing and industrial enterprises, which will result in the creation of new economic base jobs in the commonwealth while providing access to natural gas for residents.

# # #

Sen. Blake, Rep. Carroll Announce Funding for Local Affordable Housing Projects

SCRANTON, July 11, 2019 – State Sen. John Blake and state Rep. Mike Carroll today announced that three local affordable housing projects in Lackawanna and Luzerne County received over $1.2 million in funding through the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement (PHARE) fund.

“The affordable housing investments announced today by the PA Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) are important for our region and will serve our citizens for years to come,” Blake said. “With a combination of PHARE funds and low-income housing tax credits, the critically important Dupont Housing for the Elderly project will now be able to move to completion.”

This project, which received $674,400 in PHARE grant funds, was also awarded a federal low-income housing tax credit allocation that will be worth up to $8.1 million. The $10 million Dupont Housing project will consist of 36 one-bedroom units for area seniors – 19 units will have Section 8 rental subsidies through the Luzerne County Housing Authority and four will be fully accessible units for persons with disabilities.

I am thrilled that the PHFA recognized the importance of the Dupont Housing project to Greater Pittston,” Carroll said. “Dupont Borough had the foresight to obtain a former school building for the sole purpose of developing housing for our elderly population and the award of PHARE funds and low-income housing tax credits allows this project to proceed.”  

Additionally, the Goodwill at North Gerard T. Langan Apartments received $500,000 in PHARE funds to close the funding gap for the over $20 million project. This facility includes 58 completely renovated senior apartments which are currently home to 63 individuals.

“The preservation of the former North Scranton High School – now on the National Register of Historic Places – has been instrumental in revitalizing North Scranton and restoring pride in an important historical asset in our community,” Blake added.

Finally, the St. Frances Cabrini Apartments in Scranton received $100,000 in PHARE funds to replace the roof and rear doorway of a sixteen-unit federally subsidized project that provides affordable housing to seniors and individuals with disabilities.

Across the Commonwealth, 39 affordable multifamily housing developments received $41.6 million in low-income housing tax credits and $7.7 million in PennHOMES funding. Additionally, 211 housing and community development initiatives in all 67 counties will share a portion of the $51.2 million in PHARE funding.

The PHARE fund is managed by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. Since 2012, the program has received a portion of the impact fees collected from natural gas companies operating in the state with the goal of addressing an affordable housing shortage caused by the economic impact of drilling. Those funds are supplemented by two new funding sources including a portion of realty transfer taxes and money from the National Housing Trust Fund.  PHARE funding was increased by $15 million with the most recent adoption of the 2019-2020 state budget.

# # #


Legislators Congratulate NEPA Resident Sworn-In as Game Commissioner

DUPONT, August 3, 2017 – State Sens. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe), John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) and state Rep. Mike Carroll (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne) joined a host of local officials for the swearing in ceremony for Dupont resident Stanley Knick to the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners.

Knick was recently confirmed by the state Senate to fulfill the vacancy for District 7 Commissioner on the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners. Wilkes-Barre Fire Chief Jay Delaney served as the Commissioner for the Northeast Region since 2007. Magisterial District Justice Alexandra Kokura Kravitz administered the oath of office.

“Stanley Knick has devoted his entire life to public service, wildlife and Pennsylvania’s great outdoors,” Blake said. “I sincerely believe that he will be an integral part in furthering the mission of the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners and ensuring that our Pennsylvania’s wildlife and our great outdoors are properly managed for current and future generations.”

Knick in his 12th year on the Dupont Borough Council and currently serves as Council president. He has been an avid hunter and fisherman for his entire life and served as the vice president of the Eastern States Flemish Giant Rabbit Association for over ten years.

“I have had the pleasure of working with Stanley Knick for many years and I can assure you that no one is more committed to our sportsmen, our outdoors and our wildlife,” Carroll added. “The Pennsylvania Game Commission will certainly benefit from Stanley’s vast knowledge and dedication to our outdoors throughout his tenure as Commissioner.”

The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners is comprised of eight board members, each selected by the Governor, and confirmed by majority vote of the state Senate.  Knick will represent ​Region 7 as a Commissioner for the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners. Region 7 includes the counties of Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming.

Game Commissioners individually hold office for terms of four years and may be reappointed for a maximum of two additional terms. Commissioners receive no compensation for their services, but may be reimbursed for travel expenses.

# # #

Sen. Blake Announces New State Investments in Lackawanna, Luzerne Counties Totaling $1.5M

SCRANTON, Sept. 10, 2014 – Sen. John Blake today said the commonwealth is investing more than $1.5 million in four Lackawanna and Luzerne county communities with the help of new state grants.

“These new investments will deliver better roads in Scott Township, safer pedestrian and bicycle paths in Scranton, and the next steps in a police regionalization effort in Dupont,” Sen. Blake said.

The Commonwealth Financing Authority awarded the latest round of grants, and they come from Pennsylvania’s local share gaming, or LSA, program, CFA’s Multimodal Transportation Fund and the state’s Small Water and Sewer Program.

Heritage Valley Partners Inc. received the largest of the grants, $700,000. The money from the Multimodal Transportation Fund will help to pay for a $1.8 million renovation of pedestrian and bicycle safety paths in Scranton. A deteriorating retaining wall along a pedestrian corridor will also be replaced.

“The Lackawanna Heritage Valley trail system has been delivering quality of life and economic impact returns year over year. The announcement of additional state funds for public safety improvements and trail upgrades in the City of Scranton will continue to enhance and sustain those returns for local families as well as draw more visitors to the city,” Blake said.

Scott Township is receiving a $300,000 Multimodal Transportation Fund grant to help pay for the repair of Discovery Drive and Sam’s Road. The total project is expected to cost $464,640.

A sidewalk and culvert repair project will also take place in Dupont Borough with the award of a $282,000 local share gaming grant. The borough will also receive $100,000 from LSA to help pay for its police regionalization effort.

Finally, Spring Brook Township Sewer Authority will receive $125,000 to help pay for the replacement of an aeration system. The grant is coming from the state’s Small Water and Sewer System Program.