Federal agency underwrites grants to struggling coal communities
Pennsylvania communities harmed by downturns in the coal industry will reap $8 million in grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission to bump up local economic initiatives.
The grants from the federal agency will go toward projects in 10 counties, including four in Western Pennsylvania.
“These projects will enable affected regions access to new technology, new resources, and new services that will help improve both the business climate and quality of life, revitalizing communities and creating new possibilities for those who live within them,” Gov. Tom Wolf said.
Grants awarded in Western Pennsylvania include:
• $1,223,551 to Bridgeway Capital in Pittsburgh for the Western Pennsylvania Entrepreneur Diversification Fund. Through a combination of technical assistance to entrepreneurs and funding for a revolving loan program, Bridgeway Capital will promote entrepreneurial activities including development workshops, counseling, support for a regional business incubator, and small grants to entrepreneurs for training and licensing. Additional funding is being provided by Penn State University, the Fay-Penn Economic Development Council, and the Connellsville Redevelopment Authority. Private capital for the revolving loan fund is being provided by TriState Capital Bank.
• $50,000 to the Greene County Board of Commissioners in Waynesburg for the Rural Broadband Coverage and Feasibility Study. This study will identify county-wide gaps in broadband access and will determine the best technology to fill these gaps (such as fiber, white space, cable, and DSL). The study will review the county’s broadband assets, conduct a field survey of existing broadband access, determine customer demand, identify the best technology options for service gaps, and develop an implementation plan.
• $20,000 to Fay-Penn Economic Development Council in Lamont Furnace for the Fayette County Multi-Tenant Spec Building Feasibility Study. The study will determine the feasibility of constructing multi-tenant speculative shell buildings at various locations throughout Fayette County to accommodate and attract new business development. The feasibility study will determine priority locations for development, building requirements for those companies, economic impacts of the buildings, and marketing approaches for new development.
• $1,423,497 to the Southwestern Pennsylvania Coalition in Pittsburgh for the Shale Power project. The project will develop regional centers for technical assistance to manufacturers in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio that are seeking to expand into the shale energy sector. The technical assistance and business support will target small and medium enterprises and will include mini-grants, one-on-one counseling, and training. Shale Power will work with entities to connect them to shale-manufacturing sectors, develop business strategies and support workforce and job development to meet demand in shale-related markets.
Deb Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Deb at 724-850-1209, [email protected] or via Twitter .