Eight PennWorks projects create over 3,000 jobs, $10M in infrastructure development

Commonwealth Financing Authority approves eight PennWorks projects totaling over $9.77 million that will create over 3,000 new jobs in Pennsylvania and boost economic development initiatives. In other news, Pa. invests $850,000 to leverage business development, expansion projects, streamlines process for joint state-federal cleanup of industrial sites, makes Chesapeake Bay watershed grants available...

HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 30, 2005 (PRNewswire) -- Gov. Edward G. Rendell today announced that the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) has approved eight PennWorks projects totaling more than $9.77 million that will create more than 3,000 new jobs in Pennsylvania and boost economic development initiatives. To date, about $46 million has been allocated to 20 PennWorks projects that will create almost 29,000 jobs statewide.

"Modern water and sewer systems are vital to our communities - not only do they serve our citizens, they make sure we attract and retain businesses and jobs," Governor Rendell said. "Together with other economic stimulus programs, PennWorks provides the resources communities need to improve infrastructure and boost economic development throughout Pennsylvania. The projects approved today will eventually bring more than 3,000 new, good paying jobs to Pennsylvania."

The $200 million Water Supply and Wastewater Infrastructure Program, or PennWorks, was established in 2004 and provides single-year or multi-year grants and loans to municipalities and municipal authorities, industrial development corporations and investor-owned water or wastewater enterprises for projects that construct, expand or improve water and wastewater infrastructure related to economic development. The CFA approved the following projects:

Allegheny County:
The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) will receive a $15,667 grant and a $297,685 loan for the construction of new storm sewers along the 12th Street corridor in Pittsburgh. The project will extend the storm sewer created for the Seagate Technology Center to also serve the Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center, the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum and the future Grant Street Transportation Center. Pittsburgh's Department of Planning estimates that continued development of this area will result in 1,100 new jobs upon completion. The storm sewer project will cost $417,803.

Blair County:
The Blair County Development Corporation (BCDC) will receive a $135,000 grant and a $540,000 loan for the construction of a pre-treatment facility for the American Eagle Paper Mill in Tyrone Borough. Currently, the mill's biological oxygen demand is at or near daily allowable limits. The PennWorks funds will be used to construct a Bio-Tower and biomass drying system to decrease the facility's biological oxygen demand. This project will support one of the largest and oldest employers in the borough and will help retain 215 jobs at the facility. The total cost of the project is estimated at $900,000.

Crawford County:
The Meadville Area Industrial Commission (MAIC) will receive a $206,850 grant for upgrades and expansion of the Greenwood Township wastewater treatment plant. The plant serves the Keystone Regional Industrial Park. J-M Manufacturing, the world's largest manufacturer of PVC pipe, has recently purchased 22.48 additional acres of land in the Park. The Park is being marketed as an ideal location for manufacturing and large distribution facilities. MAIC estimates that the additional facilities will result in $50 million in private investment and create at least 600 new jobs within five years.

Cumberland County:
The Newville Water and Sewer Authority will receive a $1,640,110 grant and a $2,153,890 loan to expand the wastewater treatment plant and extend existing water and sewer services from West Pennsboro to Penn Township to the site of a 2.8 million-square-foot distribution center to be constructed by Brewster Development in Newville. The facility will encompass 205 acres and employ 400 people. This will be the first commercial development project in western Cumberland County in the last 25 years and will lead to further development opportunities in Newville. The total cost of the project is $4.59 million.

Fayette County:
The Fairchance Georges Joint Sewage Authority (FGJSA) will receive a $789,437 grant and a $1.2 million loan for the extension of sanitary sewers to the Burgess Field Industrial Park in Fairchance Borough. The Fay-Penn Industrial Development Council, owner of the park, expects the addition of sewer lines will attract new businesses to the site that is being marketed to commercial businesses. The total cost of the project is estimated to be about $12 million.

Lebanon County:
Union Township will receive a $1,825,875 grant and a $146,250 loan for upgrades to the municipality's wastewater treatment plant to extend water and sewer lines to the Swatara Business Park, a 94-acre site currently being developed in the Hamlet of Lickdale. Upon completion of the park, about 700 new jobs will be created. PennWorks funds will also be used to install 3,000 feet of 8-inch water main, 1,200 feet of 8-inch PVC sewer line, and 3,000 feet of 4-inch sewer line. The total cost of the treatment plant project is estimated to be $2.62 million.

Luzerne County:
The City of Wilkes-Barre will receive an $11,079 grant and a $210,501 loan for the replacement of storm and sanitary sewers along Northampton Street. This project is a critical element for construction of the Department of Labor and Industry's new facility, which will bring 250 new jobs to Wilkes-Barre. The total cost of the sewer replacement project is $295,490.

Warren County:
The Pine Grove Township Municipal Authority will receive a $353,850 grant and a $965,000 loan for the construction and renovations to its existing water supply, storage and distribution system in Pine Grove. These upgrades will provide water to the site where Warren General Hospital plans to construct the Pine Grove Surgery Center, a state-of-the-art medical facility providing same- day surgical services, living units and an education center. The $1.3 million project is expected to create 60 new jobs.

PennWorks will supplement other stimulus programs like Business in Our Sites by providing assistance for offsite improvements as well as significant site-specific projects. Together, Governor Rendell's Economic Stimulus Package targets $2.3 billion in public investments to leverage at least $5 billion worth of private sector investments in economic and community development projects.

The Commonwealth Financing Authority (www.newpa.com) is a seven-member board created to administer and fund projects from programs created by Governor Rendell's Economic Stimulus Package. The CFA oversees PennWorks, Business in Our Sites, the Tax Increment Financing Guarantee (TIF), First Industries Fund, New PA Venture Capital Investment, New Pennsylvania Venture Guarantee, Building PA, and the Second Stage Loan programs.

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In related state news:
-- "Pa. invests $850,000 to leverage business development, expansion projects"
-- "Pa. announces streamlined process for joint state-federal cleanup of industrial sites"
-- "Pa. DEP-funded project featured in environmental magazine"
-- "Chesapeake Bay targeted watersheds grants available"

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