Westmoreland development projects get nearly $6 million
Almost $6 million has been awarded to some Westmoreland County municipalities and organizations to help spur economic development projects.
The money is part of Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, of the Office of the Budget, for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects.
• The City of Greensburg $1.5 million will be used to adapt a former department store into a hotel along South Pennsylvania Avenue. The city hasn’t yet found a developer for the long-desired project, but Greensburg Community Development Corporation Ashley Kertes said she hopes a $1.5 million grant could serve as an incentive for prospective builders.
“It’s to try to entice developers to bring that in, we were hoping to have a developer lined up by now,” she said.
GCDC put out a request for proposals for the hotel project in February, with no responses. The organization is in talks with several potential developers, Kertes said.
The city applied for a $3 million grant, but Kertes said half that is still a big milestone for the hotel project.
“We’re happy, honestly, that we got anything. It’s fantastic news,” she said. “This is really a big step.”
• The Greensburg YMCA received $625,000 for a planned renovation which includes rebuilt locker rooms, new group exercise room and larger child-care area.
Greensburg YMCA CEO George O’Brien said he worked with county leaders to apply for the grant.
“We articulated what the true mission of the ‘Y’ is, why we’re here and how we’re serving the community,” he said. “I think it really opened some eyes. A lot of people think of the YMCA as a gym and swim or a fitness facility, and we’re so much more than that.”
The work, to be done in phases over the next few years, is expected to cost about $2 million. The Y is nearly halfway there because of the RACP grant and other recent fundraising efforts.
“There’s still a lot of work to do; this is just the first step,” O’Brien said.
• Derry Township was awarded nearly $750,000 to build a new fire station on School Street in the village of Bradenville. The building will feature steel and concrete construction, making space for current and future fire rescue vehicles, offices, meeting and training spaces and a kitchen.
Bradenville Fire Chief Mark Piantine said the new station, at nearly 8,500 square feet, is about 40% larger than the cramped 1952 building it will replace. It will have five truck bays, compared to just two in the existing station.
“Our main trucks will each have their own bay,” Piantine said. “Now we have to jockey vehicles.”
The new station will eliminate the need for a separate building for water rescue equipment and utility vehicles, Piantine said.
“It will have heated floors, and we won’t have to go to a hydrant to fill our pumpers,” Piantine said. “We can fill them right inside the building.”
The new station will include men’s and women’s bunk rooms and shower facilities.
“When we had flooding last year, our personnel were at the station from Friday through Monday,” Piantine said. “They had to sleep on the couch or in a truck.”
Chairman Vince DeCario said the Derry Township supervisors will look for additional funding to match the state grant.
“We plan on helping to support it,” he said of the new station. “They’re the only fire department in the township.”
• The Westmoreland County Planning Department was awarded $1 million to acquire about 110 acres currently owned by the county. Once construction is complete, the department will offer sites for offices, technology and health care expansion projects, ranging from 5 to 8 acres per lot.
Officials are required to obtain permits for construction and the installation of infrastructure including stormwater management, sanitary sewers, waterlines, utilities, soil erosion and sedimentation control, road construction, earthwork and adding sidewalks.
Westmoreland County Planning Department officials were not immediately available for comment Thursday.
• A canoe and kayak launch, a dek hockey rink and a dog park could be headed to Unity Township thanks to a $625,000 grant. The Latrobe-GLSD Parks and Recreation Department applied for $2.65 million to develop a proposed Latrobe Sports and Recreational Complex on property between the Loyalhanna Creek and Center Drive, adjacent to Lawn Rx.
If funding becomes available, parks and rec Director Craig Shevchik said the complex also would include a non-traditional sports field and an adventure park, perhaps featuring such activities as a zip line or an embankment slide.
“We would break this up into phases, depending on our funding,” he said of the complex, indicating the rec board is seeking additional help from private funding sources.
“The plans are still in the initial stage,” Shevchik said, noting the rec board has leased the property from the Latrobe Foundation for 25 years. “We’re trying to raise funds to move some dirt and get some infrastructure in,” he said.
The canoe launch, he said, would augment others downstream in Latrobe and New Alexandria that are used in a popular annual paddling sojourn on the Loyalhanna.
He said the proposed complex would fit in with a countywide recreation plan that calls for development of additional sports fields. It remains to be seen how a new dek hockey rink on Center Drive would affect the rec board’s use of a rink at the county’s Twin Lakes Park for league play.
“We pride ourselves on our partnership with the county parks,” Shevchik said.
Unity Township, as a municipality, doesn’t participate in the Latrobe-GLSD organization, but township residents are able to make use of the group’s programs and facilities as residents of the Greater Latrobe School District.
“We’re behind anything that will provide recreation for families,” said John Mylant, chairman of the Unity supervisors.
• Saint Vincent College in Unity was awarded $3 million for a student life and hospitality hub to enhance educational, economic, cultural, social and outreach programming.
The project will include renovating and expanding existing dining facilities, meeting rooms and gathering spaces used for educational programs, economic development workshops and other events, according to a news release.
A new hospitality center will also be built, along with additional meeting rooms in Anselm Hall and the renovation and upgrading of kitchen facilities.
College officials previously announced plans for a new “student life and humanities hub” to include improved dining facilities and space for commuter students, at an estimated cost of about $16 million.
Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, [email protected] or via Twitter .