Lackawanna, Monroe County Projects to Share $4 Million in Grants, Create More Than 300 Jobs

HARRISBURG, March 20, 2014 – The latest round of grant awards by the Commonwealth Financing Authority from Pennsylvania’s local share gaming program means 29 projects in Lackawanna and Monroe counties will share approximately $4 million and create more than 300 jobs in the region, state Sen. John Blake said today.

“From infrastructure improvements at the Valley View Business Park to improvements at the Carbondale Technology Transfer Center, Northeast Pennsylvania communities are continuing to benefit from the local share funds generated by Pennsylvania’s gaming industry,” Blake said.

“We work together in Harrisburg to assure these limited funds are distributed fairly to projects that promise to deliver the greatest benefit to communities and families in our region,” he said.

In Lackawanna County:

  • West Side Hyde Park Community Center received $163,000 to convert a vacant building into a youth and community center in Scranton.
  • $140,000 went to Marley’s Mission to help it build a new outdoor therapy center, outdoor pavilion, hay and manure storage buildings. Based in Newton Township, Marley’s Mission is dedicated to providing equine-based therapy services to children and their families who have experienced traumatic events.
  • Covington Township Moffat Park Pavilion received $190,000 to convert a pavilion to year-round use.
  • Lackawanna County Historical Society: $118,750 for replacement and upgrades of the Catlin House, Scranton, heating and electrical systems.
  • Olyphant Municipal Building: $200,000 for the addition of a new elevator, security doors, safer stairs.
  • Taylor Borough Splash Park: $40,000 for construction of splash park at John Derenick Memorial Park.
  • Throop Borough: $100,000 to upgrade Little League fields, build a new field and add concessions, storage and restrooms.
  • Jessup Borough: $15,000 to the Michael Steiner American Legion for a kitchen renovation and the resurfacing of its banquet hall.
  • $90,000 to the St. Anthony Memorial Park Association for renovations of the parking area and restroom in Dunmore Borough.
  • $452,400 to Jessup Borough for the Scranton Lackawanna Industrial Building Company to assist with infrastructure development of a 22-acre Brownfield site that will be known as the Valley View Business Park Professional Plaza. The project is expected to create 250 new jobs.
  • Goodwill Industries of Northeast Pennsylvania: $150,000 to develop a material salvage program, purchase two box trailer trucks, an electronic pallet jack, forklift, scale, bailer and a year’s worth of project site lease payments.
  • Center for Rehabilitation Education Equipment: $225,000 to help the University of Scranton buy and install specialized medical and health-related equipment for the new rehab center, which will consolidate its exercise science, occupational therapy and physical therapy departments into one $47.5 million center for rehabilitation education.
  • Carbondale Technology Transfer Center: $200,000 to upgrade equipment and to renovate and repair CTTC so it can attract 40 new companies to the facility.
  • Roaring Brook Township: $240,000 to pave and rebuild Golf Club Road to improve road drainage.
  • Waverly Township: $100,000 to restore and upgrade Stevenson Road to address heavy storm water runoff.
  • Jefferson Township: $50,000 for the Jefferson Township Sewer Authority to replace seven sanitary sewer pumps that now are experiencing significant maintenance issues.
  • Archbald Borough: $261,250 for the excavation and reconstruction of Peggy Drive, which is one of two primary access roads to the Valley View School District Complex and the main access road for school buses.
  • Scranton City: $100,000 for the Sewer Authority to buy two street sweepers.
  • Scranton City: $112,500 for the police department to buy and install a community surveillance network that provides continuously operational monitoring along a closed-circuit feed.
  • Blakely Borough: $50,000 for the construction of a building to house EMA support, snow removal and police equipment plus administrative records.
  • Greenfield Township: $25,000 to pave the parking lot at the township municipal building.
  • Northeast Regional Cancer Institute: $125,000 to help pay for the expansion of its community-based healthcare education and training program to provide real-life learning for students.
  • Taylor Borough: $25,000 for a new police vehicle and equipment.
  • Moscow Borough: $100,000 to replace its 15-year-old dump truck with a new vehicle.
  • Archbald Borough: $20,829 to help American Legion Post 869 pay for the replacement of its kitchen floor, bar top and provide an additional handicapped-accessible ladies restroom.

In Monroe County:

  • Coolbaugh Township: $164,400 for a paving project to be completed by the Coolbaugh Township VFD.
  • Monroe County IDA: $300,000 for an alternative energy manufacturing project by EthoGen/J.A. Reinhardt, to begin production of a thermal electric power system.
  • Monroe County IDA: $205,500 to add a left-turn only lane to Route 940 at Knox Street in Mount Pocono Borough.
  • Barrett Township: $79,094 for new police vehicles.

An additional alternative and clean energy grant of $1.2 million will help Clean Energy Inc. to build a public-access liquefied compressed natural gas fueling station in Pittston Township, Luzerne County.

Known as an LCNG fueling station, the new facility will be located within a mile of I-81 and I-476. The closest facility of its kind is now 133 miles away.

“This project and others like it serve to bring the benefits of the natural gas industry to the citizens and the business community of our state,” Blake said.

The projects that received funding today were reviewed and approved by the Commonwealth Financing Authority.


Blake Tells Conference on Aging Legislature Needs to Do More for Seniors

SCRANTON, April 11, 2013 – State Sen. John Blake today said it is important that the Corbett administration and members of the General Assembly adopt the mission of an annual conference on aging and provide more – and better – services for Pennsylvania’s senior citizen population.

The 2013 Northeastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference on Aging is a daylong event at the Patrick & Margaret DeNaples Center at the University of Scranton. This is the conference’s third consecutive year and it is co-hosted by The Commonwealth Medical College.

“It is my hope that as we continue to move forward out of these challenging economic times, Pennsylvania will be able to provide the essential services and care not only to our seniors but to the members of their families who are often the key providers of that care,” Blake told conferees during the lunchtime session.

“These are supposed to be the golden years for our senior citizens and we can only hope that the many policy decisions taken by our state and federal lawmakers afford our senior citizens an opportunity to enjoy these years,” he said.

The University of Scranton and The Commonwealth Medical College say the conference “promotes the view that healthy aging results from an integrated approach to caring for the elderly.”

“The four guiding principles of education, integration, collaboration, and dissemination personify our core purpose to direct the necessary resources to enable elders and their families to live fulfilling lives with dignity and secure in the knowledge that our academic and professional institutions are committed to innovation and service to promote healthy aging,” the conference’s mission statement says.

As Pennsylvania moves into the federal Affordable Care Act and considers Medicaid expansion, Blake said it’s extremely important for lawmakers to pay attention to detail when it comes to adopting regulations and laws that affect senior citizens.

Nearly 2 million people 65 years old and older live in Pennsylvania and the commonwealth is fourth in the United States for residents who are 85 years old or older (300,000 people). Seventeen percent of the residents living in Blake’s 22nd Senatorial District are at least 65 years old.

By 2030, Blake said it is estimated that the number of Pennsylvanians older than 60 will increase to 3.6 million.

Pennsylvania’s growing elderly population, coupled with dramatically increasing health care costs, make it more important for lawmakers to get it right.

“In Pennsylvania, a senior or their family can expect to pay $99,280 per year for a private room in a nursing home. The national average for a private room is only $81,031 per year,” Blake said. “That is an unbearable cost for most families but most of the time there is simply no choice.

Blake reiterated the need for Gov. Corbett to approve Medicaid expansion. Citing statistics from a recent RAND study, the senator said Pennsylvania’s participation in the federal program would add as much as $2.5 billion in annual payments to the state. It would also spark up to $3.6 billion in economic activity.


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