Senate Democrats Announce Main Street Business Revitalization Grant Program

Senate Democrats Announce Main Street Business Revitalization Grant Program

Senators Jay Costa, Vince Hughes, John Blake, Jim Brewster and Pam Iovino today called for $550 million of funds allocated to Pennsylvania through the federal CARES act to be used for a program they are calling the Main Street Business Revitalization Initiative, which will issue grants.

“This pandemic has exposed the fragile ecosystem and slim margins that small businesses and their workers function within every single day,” Costa said. “As Pennsylvania begins to recover both economically and physically from the COVID-19 pandemic, we must make sure that our business owners have the resources they need. We must seek a just recovery from this pandemic.”

The Senators are calling for $425 million to go to traditional main street businesses, and a separate $125 million to be allocated to historically disadvantaged businesses.

Pennsylvania has received $4 billion from the federal government that must be spent or allocated by December 31, 2020. The Senate Democrats have proposed a robust plan for those funds called PA CARES (more info at pasenate.com/pacares)

“These main street businesses did not cause this pandemic, but they are feeling its worst financial effects,” Sen. Hughes said. “Our plan gets these small businesses the financial assistance they deserve. Money has been sitting in Pennsylvania’s account for six weeks, which is money intended, by the direction of the federal government, to assist small businesses, and that money needs to go out immediately. The question is: Why are we waiting? The answer is: We can wait no longer. Small mom-and-pop, main street, and neighborhood businesses — especially those businesses in historically disadvantaged communities who have born the financial brunt of this pandemic — need this help. Our plan gets it to them immediately. All grants and no loans. They need this cash now and our plan gets it to them now. From the barbershop in North Philadelphia and to the nail salon in Pittsburgh, and from the pizza shop in Scranton and to the auto body shop in Erie; our plan sees their pain, especially those in historically disadvantaged communities, and responds to it. Real money in real time.”

This initiative will be run by Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) who are committed to providing flexible loans, debt relief and business technical assistance to support the recovery and sustainability of Pennsylvania businesses. CDFIs are known to be “first responders” during periods of economic turmoil because of their keen knowledge of and connection to the communities they serve. More importantly, they have a demonstrated capacity to focus on the critical needs of small businesses.

The Main Street Business Revitalization Initiative is a retroactive way to address the serious challenges of the main street small business community caused by the COVID-19 and the devastating but necessary closures ordered in Pennsylvania to protect public health.

“Our small businesses – restaurants, barbershops, cafes, bakeries, boutiques – are the heartbeat of our communities and the backbone of our economy,” said Senator John Blake. “Throughout the pandemic, their bills have continued to mount despite limited or no sales at all, insufficient income and, to-date, inadequate support and funding from the federal stimulus package.   Our proposal will provide $550 million in grants to Main Street small business owners throughout the state using Pennsylvania’s share of the federal CARES Act COVID-19 relief package.  It will allow small business owners to pay health care premiums, insurance policy premiums, rent, loan payments, real estate tax payments, as well as covering some of the costs that must be incurred to ensure the safety of workers and customers as businesses reopen.”

Eligible businesses will include barbers, salons, restaurants, bars, and taverns, retailers, coffee shops, neighborhood hardware stores, garden shops, realtors, childcare facilities and the numerous other small businesses who have suffered economically during this challenging time.

Previous business assistance programs have inadvertently disadvantaged many main street businesses who were unprepared to tap into the network of assistance. Through the assistance of CDFIs, main street businesses will have access to job protection and initiatives through financial institutions they are comfortable with.

“To spur a vigorous economic rebound, state and federal resources must be deployed effectively including using federal CARES dollars to help small businesses that have been severely impacted by the pandemic,” Brewster said. “Driving funds out now to help businesses get their operations underway, cover costs, and navigate the regulatory environment in the immediate aftermath of a government-mandated closure is an excellent approach.

“The stimulus plan that I offered earlier this year to re-ignite business activity and speed the economic recovery once the pandemic’s health risk was addressed included elements to aid small business. Pushing financial assistance while promoting safety and security for workers and consumers is the way to reengage our economy in a meaningful way.”

“Small businesses represent nearly half of the private sector workforce in Pennsylvania – 2.5 million jobs. They are the job creators in our communities, yet they were glaringly overlooked by federal business relief programs,” said Senator Iovino. “While small business owners are making difficult decisions about how long they can hang on, they need to know that a lifeline will be available to them. We do not want to see any of these businesses fail, and the $550 million Main Street Business Revitalization Initiative is exactly the kind of lifeline that these economic drivers need.”

As many Pennsylvania counties are now in the Yellow phase of reopening and on their way to Green phase, businesses cannot be expected to open their doors and have all the issues of these past months disappear.

Local businesses, and the workers that they employee, need the legislature to act and disperse funds that will aid in the lost revenue and assist in building back up the business back bones of our community.

The Pennsylvania Senate Democrats have released their PA CARES plan with initiatives that include assistance for the business community, housing assistance programs, student debt relief, veterans’ assistance, utility assistance, and food bank support. Read all proposals at pasenate.com/pacares.

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Brewster: Federal Grant Funding Soon Available for First-Responder PPE, Supplies

Brewster: Federal Grant Funding Soon Available for First-Responder PPE, Supplies

McKeesport – April 23, 2020 – New federal grant funds to help first-responders secure life-saving personal protection equipment (PPE) and aid them in safely and securely responding to health emergencies will soon be available, state Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) said today.

“We received notification that new federal funding will soon be available to help our first-responders acquire PPE and other supplies,” Brewster said.  “The window to apply for these funds is relatively short so I encourage fire companies, ambulance, EMS and others emergency response organizations to examine information about the program and seek funding if appropriate.”

Brewster said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) indicated it will release more details of the $100 million Fiscal Year 2020 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program – COVID-19 Supplemental (AFG-S) soon. 

Information specifically about the program will be available at https://www.fema.gov/grants and https://www.grants.gov/.  Additional resources can be found at FEMA’s websites https://www.fema.gov/welcome-assistance-firefighters-grant-program or https://www.fema.gov

“We must continue to make resources available for our police, fire, and EMS first-responders amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” Brewster said.  “More federal and state resources should be made available to protect everyone on the front lines.”

Brewster said the financial assistance will be provided directly to eligible organizations.

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Brewster: $1.7 Million in School Safety Grants Approved for Local Districts

Brewster: $1.7 Million in School Safety Grants Approved for Local Districts

Harrisburg – February 26, 2020 – State Sen. Jim Brewster today said that $1.7 million in state school safety grants will soon be distributed to local schools.

Brewster, who represents portions of Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, serves as a member of the School Safety and Security Committee. He has been the General Assembly’s foremost advocate for addressing school safety issues. The funds were approved by the committee at its meeting today.

“These grants are critical tools that can be used to protect students, teachers, administrators and visitors to school facilities,” Brewster said. “As a member of the committee that approves these grants, I am keenly aware of the needs of area schools and committed to helping improve security.”

Brewster said that he would continue to work to adjust competitive grant criteria so that more school districts can access maximum funding. 

The following school districts in Brewster’s area will receive competitive and meritorious school grants:

Allegheny County:

  • Baldwin-Whitehall School District                                              $45,000
  • Brentwood School District                                                            $35,000
  • Clairton School District                                                                  $30,000
  • Duquesne School District                                                              $30,000
  • East Allegheny School District                                                     $481,508
  • Elizabeth Forward School District                                              $40,000
  • Gateway School District                                                                $40,000
  • McKeesport Area School District                                                $45,000
  • Plum Borough School District                                                     $40,000
  • South Allegheny School District                                                  $455,000
  • West Allegheny School District                                                   $40,000
  • West Mifflin Area School District                                               $40,000

Westmoreland County:

  • Burrell School District                                                                   $35,000
  • Kiski Area School District                                                             $40,000
  • New Kensington-Arnold School District                                   $35,000
  • Penn-Trafford School District                                                     $45,000
  • Westmoreland IU7                                                                         $239,000

Brewster has been a strong and vocal advocate of improving security at school facilities. He has sponsored a package of bills to enhance safety in schools. The legislation includes: the development of a school safety commission, requiring school safety upgrades to be part of approved school construction and rehabilitation projects, and armed guards in school building. 

In addition, last August the school safety committee approved Brewster’s request to create a subcommittee to explore the development of baseline safety and security standards that could be universally applied to all school districts. 

“We must keep providing grant funds to pay for safety upgrades to schools,” Brewster said. “Our children deserve a safe and secure environment that is conducive to education.”

The School Safety and Security Committee was established in 2018. The grants are administered through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

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Brewster: Job Training Funds Awarded to Northern Westmoreland CTC, A.W. Beattie

Brewster: Job Training Funds Awarded to Northern Westmoreland CTC, A.W. Beattie

Harrisburg – December 20, 2019 – State Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) said today that the state Department of Education has awarded Northern Westmoreland CTC $16,930 and A.W. Beattie Career Center $49,650 for new equipment to better align job training programs with high demand jobs.

“There is a real need to ensure that individuals in job training programs can access state-of-the-art equipment, so they are well-prepared to enter the workforce,” Brewster said.  “The funds will help better match job skill with job.”

Brewster said the grants were among 32 which were awarded to job training and vocation education centers.  He said almost $1,2 million was awarded statewide.

“The funding will enable more students to receive hands-on training which boosts their skill sets and makes them better prepared to meet the needs of local employers,” Brewster said.  “Matching job with trained employee is a win for the employee, the employer and our economy.”

The maximum grant is $50,000 and must be matched locally.

Brewster is a member of the Senate Education Committee.

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Brewster: Over $1 Million for Railway Jobs and Infrastructure Improvements

Brewster: Over $1 Million for Railway Jobs and Infrastructure Improvements

Harrisburg – December 18, 2019 – Sen. Jim Brewster (D – Allegheny/Westmoreland) said today that $1,146,950 has been awarded for various railway track upgrades and expansion projects in the region.

“The railways that serve the industrial facilities of our region remain as critical components of highly integrated rail network,” Brewster said. “I am pleased that the state has made this significant investment that will help businesses in the area and create an environment that is conducive to job creation.”

U.S. Steel Corporation has been awarded $689,500 to complete rail track updates to accommodate their new hot rolling mill in Braddock.

Union Railroad was awarded $457,450 to construct new railway track and a new rail turnout that will also serve U.S. Steel’s new hot rolling mill.

PennDOT will be distributing the funds for the projects.

“I will continue to push for investments in railway and manufacturing operations,” Brewster said.

Brewster: Grants Approved for Recreation Projects in Lower Burrell, Baldwin

Brewster: Grants Approved for Recreation Projects in Lower Burrell, Baldwin

Harrisburg – November 14, 2019 – State Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) said today that recreation and park projects in Lower Burrell, Westmoreland County and Baldwin Borough in Allegheny County have been awarded Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) grants totaling nearly $230,000.

“State resources redirected back to help local communities fund park and recreation projects are important and help municipalities in their redevelopment efforts,” Brewster said.  “Planning for future recreation and the preservation of open spaces, in addition to developing community parks are excellent uses of DCNR grants.”

  • Lower Burrell was awarded $19,000 to prepare a recreation and open space plan for the city;
  • Baldwin Borough will receive a $210,000 grant to help rehabilitate and further develop Elm Leaf Park. The project includes renovations, development of parking areas, dugouts, comfort stations, new play equipment in addition to other improvements.

The grants were part of third-round funding for Community Parks and Partnerships.

Brewster: More than $500,000 Approved for Local Recreation Projects

Brewster: More than $500,000 Approved for Local Recreation Projects

Harrisburg – Sept. 17, 2019 – State Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) today said he is pleased that more than $500,000 in state grant funding was approved for an array of recreation projects in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties.

“Our ability to help local communities improve their recreation and public spaces is significantly bolstered by funding that is brought back from Harrisburg,” Brewster said. “These new dollars for the enhancement of recreation projects in both Allegheny and Westmoreland counties will improve the quality of life in our communities.”

Funding was approved for park and recreation projects in Port Vue, Baldwin, Plum, Elizabeth and North Versailles in Allegheny County. Vandergrift and Lower Burrell in Westmoreland County also received state funds for park and pool rehabilitation projects.

The grants were made available through the Commonwealth Financing Authority’s Act 13 program funds. The following program dollars were approved in this round of funding for projects in Brewster’s district in Allegheny County:

  • Port Vue Borough Port Vue Athletic Association Recreation Building              $53,763
  • Baldwin Borough Elm Leaf Park Improvements                                                    $50,000
  • Plum Borough Logan’s Ferry Park Improvements                                                 $150,000
  • Elizabeth Borough Streetscape, Riverfront Park Improvements                        $50,000
  • North Versailles Crestas ball field lighting                                                               $50,000

In the Westmoreland County portion of Brewster’s district, funding for the following projects were approved:

  • Lower Burrell Veterans Central Park Improvements                                             $50,000
  • Vandergrift Borough Pool Renovation                                                                      $165,313

Brewster said that while he is pleased that these grants were approved, he will continue to seek other resources for communities through other state programs.

Brewster: Grants Awarded to Local Elementary Schools to Fund Fresh Food Programs

Brewster: Grants Awarded to Local Elementary Schools to Fund Fresh Food Programs

July, 15, 2019 — Today, Senator Jim Brewster announced the award of federal grants to local elementary schools to fund healthy, fresh food programs for students.

“It is important to make healthy food accessible to students so they are nourished and prepared to learn,” Brewster said. “This program is also a great way to introduce children to produce they may not be able to get otherwise.”

Funding priority is given to the schools with the highest rates of students eligible for free and reduced-price meals.  Grantees are required to spend a majority of their grant on the purchase of fresh fruit and vegetable and must develop a plan to establish partnerships to reduce other costs.  Schools are also required to provide nutrition education to students, but cannot use Fresh Fruit and Vegetable (FFVP) funding to purchase nutrition education materials.

Local schools receiving funds include:

·         Mon Valley School, Clairton $ 2,300.00
·         Sunrise School, Monroeville $2,530.00
·         Clairton Elementary School $24,092.50
·         Duquesne Elementary School, Duquesne $22,252.50
·         Logan Elementary School, North Versailles $46,057.50
·         Francis McClure Elementary School, White Oak $38,525.00
·         Twin Rivers Elementary School, McKeesport $45,022.50
·         Propel Charter School, Pitcairn $13,110.00
·         Propel East, Turtle Creek $17,940.00
·         Propel, McKeesport $16,732.50
·         South Allegheny Elementary, McKeesport $32,142.50
·         Clara Barton Elementary School, West Mifflin $13,282.50
·         Homeville Elementary School, West Mifflin $19,377.50
·         New Emerson Elementary School, West Mifflin $9,947.50
·         Young Scholars Of McKeesport Charter School, McKeesport $10,810.00
·         Kiski Area East Primary School, Vandergrift $26,737.50

 

The funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.  The program’s goals are to create healthier school environments by providing healthier food choices, expand the variety of fruits and vegetables students experience, increase fruit and vegetable consumption, and positively impact students’ present and future health.  FFVP was first implemented in Pennsylvania in 2004 and expanded to all 50 states in 2008.

“Fresh fruits and vegetables provide vital nutrients to growing children,” said Education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera. “These grants are another way to help address food security in our schools while also providing an opportunity to teach students how to make smart and nutritious choices.”

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Brewster: Funding Approved for Crime Victims Programs in Allegheny, Westmoreland

Brewster: Funding Approved for Crime Victims Programs in Allegheny, Westmoreland

Harrisburg – March 13, 2019 – State Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) said that the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) has approved funding for numerous programs to aid victims in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties.

“The funding is critical for important programs to address those impacted by crime,” Brewster said.  “The dollars will help fund outreach activities, training, improved communications, advocacy and those impacted by crime.”

Brewster said a total of nearly $6 million was approved for a wide range of programs in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties.  The funding is available through the Victims of Crime Act and includes both non-competitive and competitive grants.  Among others, the grant recipients include:

  • Alle-Kiski Area Hope Center                                                                   $225,430
  • Center for Victims                                                                                     $571,538
  • Court Appointed Special Advocates of Allegheny County                $2,159
  • Neighborhood Legal Services                                                                 $244,803
  • Womens Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh                           $511,251
  • Center for Victims                                                                                     $1,265,361
  • Casa of Westmoreland Inc.                                                                     $173,174

PCCD supports justice-related programs with a focus on research, police and support services.  The approved funding support programs that serve individuals countywide.

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Brewster: Computer Science Dedicated Funding Awarded to Local Schools

Brewster: Computer Science Dedicated Funding Awarded to Local Schools

Harrisburg, Jan. 17, 2019 – Education grants dedicated to the implementation and improvement of computer science programs and career-readiness have been awarded to schools in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, said Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland).

“As computer technology continues to evolve, it is important that students can experience and learn new computer skills first hand,” Brewster said. “I am pleased that students in our area will benefit from Pennsylvania’s grants dedicated to improving computer science programs in local schools.”

Baldwin-Whitehall, Duquesne, East Allegheny and South Allegheny in Allegheny County, along with Burrell and Kiski school districts in Westmoreland, were approved for funding through the PAsmart initiative.   The grants are for $35,000 each. 

PAsmart grants are used to fund high-quality STEM and computer science courses for K-12 students, specifically those in low-income areas where access to up-to-date STEM technology may be limited.

Brewster noted that the state’s commitment to funding innovative technology and STEM education for Pennsylvania students has resulted in the state ranking second in the country for STEM education funding.

“PAsmart grants are an excellent investment in the future of our students,” Brewster said. “We must continue to provide for educational programs and opportunities that will prepare students to enter the ever-changing, fast paced workforce.”

A total of $8.7 million were distributed to 221 school districts for 765 individual schools. 

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Brewster: Education Partnership Grants Approved for Technical Career Training

Brewster: Education Partnership Grants Approved for Technical Career Training

Harrisburg – January 16, 2019 – Education Partnership Grants to improve technical career training have been approved for projects in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, said Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland).

Westmoreland/Fayette Business Education Partnership and Three Rivers were approved for grant funding to help implement programs that will demonstrate the importance of technical careers to students and help those interested in technical careers prepare for post-secondary education and apprenticeship opportunities.

“STEM and technical careers are essential to our local and state economy,” Brewster said. “It is important that we continue to fund education programs that offer students pathways into these career fields.”

Westmoreland/Fayette Business Education Partnership was awarded $127,050 to develop technology projects and interactive programs that will allow students to explore and prepare for post-secondary education and careers within the STEM field. The programs, which will serve 600 K-12 students in the Westmoreland and Fayette area, will include both classroom and work-based learning opportunities.

Three Rivers in Allegheny was awarded $115,641 to implement a three-phase conference and networking program that will showcase careers in the building and construction industry.

“Providing students with the opportunity to explore more careers and the chance to gain hands-on experience is a great educational investment,” Brewster said.  “I am happy that these local programs have been awarded the funds to help students see more options available to them in their future.”

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Brewster: Conservation Partnership Grants Approved for Area Projects

Brewster: Conservation Partnership Grants Approved for Area Projects

Harrisburg – Nov. 16, 2018 – Several state grants were approved to fund conservation partnership projects in Monroeville, Brentwood and Glassport in addition to the Great Allegheny Passage in Elizabeth Township and Lincoln Borough, state Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) said today. 

“These grants will not only open up areas for recreation, but they will enhance a community’s quality of life,” Brewster said.  “Citizens from the area will be able to enjoy greater access to open space, have improved recreational areas, site improvements, facilities and public walkways.”

The grants include the following:

  • Allegheny Land Trust: $20,000 is earmarked toward the acquisition of 30 acres in Monroeville for open space and recreation;
  • Brentwood Borough: $697,600 to revitalize the Brentwood Community Park including the reconstruction of the swimming pool, liner, piping, fencing, ADA access, landscaping and other site improvements;
  • Glassport Borough: $40,000 to develop the 9th Street Park including walkways, pavilions, fencing, ADA access and other site improvements;
  • Great Allegheny Passage in Elizabeth Township and Lincoln Borough: $170,500 to Regional Trail Corporation to rehabilitate 9.8 miles of trail from Buena Vista to Durabond bypass.  The project includes installation of gates, ADA access and other improvements.   

Brewster said the grants were approved through the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Community Conservation Partnership Program.  Partnership grants are funded through a mix of state and federal sources. 

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Brewster Announces $450,000 in School Safety and Security Grants

Brewster Announces $450,000 in School Safety and Security Grants

McKeesport – Oct. 30, 2018 – Sen. Jim Brewster (D- Allegheny/Westmoreland) announced today that $450,000 in School Safety and Security grants were awarded to various school districts in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties.  The grant funding was authorized by the School Safety and Security Committee within the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

“Pushing resources out to schools quickly was one of the top priorities of the School Safety and Security Committee,” Brewster said. “Districts can use the funds to help protect students and make our school buildings safer and more secure.” 

Brewster is a member of the School Safety and Security Committee.  He was appointed earlier this year.

Local school districts that received the $25,000 grant allocation include:

  • Baldwin-Whitehall School District (Allegheny County)
  • Brentwood Borough School District (Allegheny County)
  • Clairton City School District (Allegheny County)
  • Duquesne City School District (Allegheny County)
  • East Allegheny School District (Allegheny County)
  • Elizabeth Forward School District (Allegheny County)
  • Gateway School District (Allegheny County)
  • McKeesport Area School District (Allegheny County)
  • Plum Borough School District (Allegheny County)
  • South Allegheny School District (Allegheny County)
  • West Mifflin Area School District (Allegheny County)
  • Woodland Hills School District (Allegheny County)
  • West Jefferson School District (Allegheny County)
  • Burrell School District (Westmoreland County)
  • Kiski Area School District (Westmoreland County)
  • New Kensington-Arnold School District (Westmoreland County)
  • Leechburg Area School District (Westmoreland County)
  • Penn-Trafford Area School District (Westmoreland County)

Gov. Tom Wolf signed Act 44 into law in June of 2018 which established the School Safety and Security Committee. The committee was charged with developing criteria for school safety and security assessments along with issues surveys to measure their safety and security preparedness.  It also administers grants to schools to improve safety and security.

There was a total of $52.5 million allocated to the School Safety and Security Grant Program for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

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Brewster Announces Grant for LifeSpan Mon-Valley

Brewster Announces Grant for LifeSpan Mon-Valley

Monroeville, April 20, 2018 – State Sen. James Brewster today announced that LifeSpan Mon-Valley at Olympia Senior Resource Center is receiving a $54,300 Lottery-funded grant.

“I am pleased that this money will be used to help the center provide quality services to our senior citizens,” Brewster said. “I will continue to seek ways to help seniors live healthy and active lives.”

The grants are administered by the state Department of Aging. Located in McKeesport, the Olympia Senior Resource Center was one of 41 senior centers statewide that were awarded grant funds today. In all, Pennsylvania has over 500 community senior centers.

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Brewster: Grant Approved for Solar Energy Program in West Mifflin

Brewster: Grant Approved for Solar Energy Program in West Mifflin

Harrisburg- March 16, 2018 – State Sen. Jim Brewster (D- Allegheny/Westmoreland) announced today that Extra Space Management, Inc. of West Mifflin Borough in Allegheny County will receive a $84,176 grant for the installation of a rooftop photovoltaic power generation facility (solar panels) on the roof of their self-storage facility.

“Pennsylvania has abundant natural resources — solar being just one of them. I am pleased that we can earmark state grant money so local businesses can access energy efficient technologies,” Brewster said.

Extra Space Management will be using the Solar Energy Program funds to engineer, purchase, and install the solar photovoltaic system on their roof. The total cost of the project is $269,588, with Extra Space Management providing $175,392 in matching funds for the project. The company has owned and operated managed self-storage properties across multiple states and regions since 1977.

The grant program is administered jointly by the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) under the direction of the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA).

The Solar Energy Program (SEP) provides financial assistance in the form of grant and loan funds to promote the use of solar energy in Pennsylvania. Businesses, economic development organizations, municipalities, counties and school districts are all eligible to apply for the grants.

The use of the solar photovoltaic system will provide up to 98 percent of Extra Space Management’s power demand, and will generate 106,600 kilowatts of electricity per year.

 

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Sen. Brewster: $75,000 Approved for Local Projects to Promote PA Breweries

Sen. Brewster: $75,000 Approved for Local Projects to Promote PA Breweries

Harrisburg – February 28, 2018 – State Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) today announced three state grants to local entities totaling $75,000 to develop and market the Pennsylvania beer industry.

“The Pennsylvania Malt and Brewed Beverages Industry continues to grow, create jobs and contribute to our economy,’ Brewster said. “I’m pleased that these state grant dollars will be used locally to foster interest in this growing industry.”

The grants include:

  • $35,000 to the Pittsburgh District of the Master Brewer’s Association of Pennsylvania for its Professional Development and Education Program: The funds will be used to provide professional speakers, technical seminars and other professional development opportunities to help local brewers improve the quality and marketing of beer;
  • $30,000 to the Pittsburgh Brewers Guild to create an innovative and interactive online and print guide for breweries across Allegheny County — focused on increased knowledge of unique local brewing traditions, tourism and economic impact. The senator discussed the grant recently with guild members at the Rivertowne Brewing Company in Export, Westmoreland County, recently; and
  • $10,000 to Hops on Lots Pittsburgh to work with the community to create of an urban hop farm to supply a local brewer that could brew a truly local beer for the community.

The grant program was established by Act 39 of 2016. These grants were part of the 13 announced statewide today.

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Brewster: State Funds Approved for Traffic Light Enforcement in Allegheny Township

Brewster: State Funds Approved for Traffic Light Enforcement in Allegheny Township

Harrisburg – February 26, 2018 – State Sen. Jim Brewster today announced $122,000 grant to upgrade traffic signals and warning devices with LEDs located throughout Allegheny Township.

“This funding program improves safety at signalized intersections through automated enforcement at locations where data shows red-light violations have been a problem,” Brewster said. “The funds should also help with safety, mobility and relieving traffic congestion.”

The Automated Red-Light Enforcement program is administered by PennDOT. The Allegheny Township grant was one of 41 issued today.

“I will continue to seek state support for projects that improve highway safety and efficiently moderate the flow of traffic,” Brewster said.

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Millions in State Grant Funds Approved for Westinghouse Castle in Wilmerding, Parking Structure in Monroeville, Brewster, Markosek Say

Harrisburg – December 28, 2017 – A total of $3 million in newly approved state grant funding will help transform a former turn-of-the century industrial edifice in Wilmerding into a new commercial hotel, and result in the construction of a new parking structure in Monroeville to accommodate a large local employer, state Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) and state Rep. Joe Markosek said today.

The repurposing of the former Westinghouse Castle in Wilmerding will be boosted by a $1 million grant.  Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. (BPMI) will use a $2 million state grant to construct a new parking facility for its expansion project.

“Earmarking these state grants for both projects is a wise use of state resources,” Brewster said.  “The repurposing of the Westinghouse Castle is a signature project that will generate local economic activity and create jobs.

“The grant for BPMI is targeted to a large local employer who has engaged in an expansion project at its facility.”

Markosek said the state grant dollars help leverage other investment that will result in job creation, tax base expansion and even more spin-off economic benefits.

“Without question, prudent state investments such as targeting dollars to help the redevelopment of the former Westinghouse Castle, plus helping a large local employer and good corporate partner like BPMI grow, will create even greater benefits for years to come,” Markosek said.  “These are important projects for our local economy and for future economic stability.”

Priory Hospitality Group is planning to transform the Westinghouse Castle into a 42-room boutique hotel with banquet space and a restaurant, and house the George Washington Museum, including artifacts and documents.

BPMI will use its state funds to build a parking structure to address the needs of the growing workforce at its complex.  Plans also call for the construction of a new office building.

“BPMI is a quality corporate partner who has made a commitment to our area,” Brewster said.  “I am pleased that the state has made a commitment to help this company continue its expansion.”

Markosek said the Westinghouse Castle project has unique attributes. 

“The Westinghouse Castle project is a unique development that preserves the historical nature of the building while adapting the historical landmark for contemporary use,” he said.

Westinghouse Castle served as the general office building for the Westinghouse Air Brake Company.  Built in 1890, the structure features Richardson Romanesque/Chateauesque architecture, which had to be rebuilt six years later when a fire destroyed its upper stories.  A wing was added in 1926.

The Westinghouse Air Brake Company, originally known as Library Hall, was the first company founded by George Westinghouse. 

Funding for the projects is through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, which is administered by the Budget Office.  The General Assembly authorized the projects. 

Brewster is the Democratic chair of the Senate Law and Justice and Game and Fisheries committees.  Markosek is the Democratic chair of the House Appropriations Committee. 

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$1 Million Grants to Fund Key Transportation Projects in Allegheny and Westmoreland, Brewster Says

Harrisburg – November 15, 2017 – Four grants worth nearly $1 million were approved by the state’s Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) to fund transportation projects in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, according to state Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland).

The projects include a $600,000 grant for the Port Authority of Allegheny County to help build, rehabilitate and modernize the new McKeesport Transportation Center, located in the center of the city.

“These grants will fund key transportation initiatives that serve the public in a variety of ways,” Brewster said.  “Not only is there grant funding for the new transportation center in McKeesport, but there are funds for streetscape, road resurfacing and the construction of a bike connector in other municipalities.” 

Brewster said that $163,216 was approved for a streetscape project along Brownsville Road in Brentwood.  Also approved were grants of $118,000 for road work in Vandergrift, Westmoreland County and $118,784 for the construction of a trail connector through Elm Leaf Park in Baldwin Borough. 

The funding for the multimodal projects were approved at a meeting yesterday in Harrisburg. 

“Improving our transportation network is essential to building and rebuilding our economy and improving communities throughout the region,” Brewster said.  “I am pleased that these state resources will be used to fund these important projects.”

Brewster serves as a member of the state Senate Transportation Committee.

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Brewster, Markosek: Transportation, Recreation, Public Safety, Flood Mitigation Projects Approved

Harrisburg – November 14, 2017 – Grants totaling more than $1.3 million were approved to address transportation, recreation, flood mitigation and public safety in the Mon Valley and eastern Allegheny County, state Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) and state Rep. Joe Markosek (D-Allegheny) said.

The grant funding was approved by the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) at a meeting this morning in Harrisburg.  Grants were targeted for Monroeville, Pitcairn, North Versailles and East McKeesport. 

“The projects approved today will address specific needs of municipalities,” Brewster said.  “This funding will help build up and enhance our transportation system, curb flooding, improve recreational opportunities and promote public safety.”

“These projects improve the quality of life in the region and aid economic development and job creation efforts,” Markosek said.  “State support for these local projects is essential because many communities do not have the local resources to properly fund the work.

“Plus, it is critical to draw down state grant funding to help alleviate the local tax burden.”  

The projects approved today include:

  • $279,433 for flood mitigation along Dirty Camp Run in Pitcairn; 
  • $211,241 for Crestas Park renovation in North Versailles; 
  • $795,690 for pedestrian and streetscape improvements in East McKeesport;
  • $100,000 to help the Monroeville Police Department upgrade its mobile radio system.

Brewster said that the CFA approval of these grants provide important pieces of funding for projects in the communities and that both he and Markosek represent. 

“Communities in our region have great needs that can, in many cases, only be met by applying state resources,” Brewster said.  “Local tax dollars are already being stretched and Representative Markosek and I are aggressive in pursuing state dollars so projects can be completed.”

Markosek noted that he was pleased that the state is making these investments and that funding of over $1.3 million is significant. 

“Both Senator Brewster and I work to ensure that projects in our municipalities are funded and that state dollars are used to pay for a lion’s share of the costs,” Markosek said. 

Brewster serves as Democratic chair of the Law and Justice and Game and Fisheries committees in the state Senate.  Markosek is Democratic appropriations chair in the state House of Representatives. 

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More than $675,000 in Grant Funding Approved for Seven Local Sewer Projects, Brewster says

Harrisburg – March 29, 2017 – More than $675,000 in grant funding has been approved for seven sewer rehabilitation projects in the Allegheny Valley, Mon Valley, South Hills and east suburbs, according to state Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland).

The funding was approved for sewer projects in Clairton, Monroeville, North Versailles, West Elizabeth, New Kensington, Pleasant Hills and Versailles.  The funds were approved through the Commonwealth Financing Authority’s Pennsylvania Small Water and Sewer program.

“The grant funding will help deliver sewer upgrades for communities stretching from the Allegheny Valley, through the east suburbs, in the Mon Valley and into South Hills communities,” Brewster said.  “Accessing state grant funds defrays local costs and helps communities pay for critical upgrades.

“I am pleased that our work to generate state funding for these projects was successful.”

Brewster said that the projects set to receive a portion of the Small Water and Sewer Funds include:

  • Clairton Municipal Authority: Grant funding of $85,750 to pay for the installation of corrugated pipe to address storm water infiltration along Beech Alley and Waddell Avenue; 
  • Monroeville Municipal Authority: $94,550 in grant funds to rehabilitate 5,500 linear feet of sewer line to repair structural defects and eliminate ground water infiltration;
  • North Versailles Township Sanitary Authority: $29,115 in state grants to replace 523 linear feet of sewer line and four manholes in the Hoffman Road rear line.  This will stop storm water infiltration into the sewer system;
  • West Elizabeth Sanitary Authority: Grant funding of $19,800 to install a low pressure sanitary force main to serve residents on Fourth Street Extension.  This project ensures sewage treatment for five homes that will be unable to connect to a new treatment facility;
  • Municipal Authority of the City of New Kensington: $347,325 grant funding for sanitary and storm line separation as part of the Parkway Drive project.   The project includes the installation of 1,350 of 15-inch storm line;
  • Pleasant Hills Authority: $89,625 state grant funding to line the sewer interceptor in the Lewis Run and Lick Run area to reduce inflow and infiltration into the sewer system and untreated wastes into groundwater and surface water;
  • Versailles Borough: Grant funding in the amount of $33,835 to repair structural defects within the sanitary sewer system, including the raising of 3 manholes and the installation of one manhole to improve access to the sewer system. 

Brewster indicated that $22 million will be distributed across the state as a part of the Pennsylvania Small Water and Sewer Program in this funding round.

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Brewster: Long Run Road – Walnut Street Intersection Improvements Funded

Harrisburg – December 6, 2016 – A state grant of $316,100 has been approved to improve the Long Run Road – Walnut Street intersection in the City of McKeesport, state Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/ Westmoreland) said today. 

“In order to continue the redevelopment of the region, it is critical that our road network is improved,” Brewster said.  “The intersection at Long Run Road and Walnut Street is an important gateway to not only the City of McKeesport but the entire Mon Valley.”

The grant was approved through the Commonwealth Financing Authority’s (CFA) Multimodal Transportation Fund.  CFA projects are designed to bolster economic revitalization through strategic state investment. 

Brewster said that this grant is being used to support the development of Walnut Crossing development which will add an additional access point to the intersection. 

“The key to bringing more growth, development and jobs back to the Mon Valley is by making the area attractive for new employers and more productive for those that are already up and running,” Brewster said.  “CFA transportation grants help open access to development-ready land parcels and improves the marketability of sites.”

Brewster, who formerly served as the mayor of McKeesport, said that in addition to spurring potential economic development the improvement of the intersection will speed traffic flow through a heavily traveled corridor.

The project includes the installation of a traffic light and turning lane. 

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Brewster Welcomes New State Investments for Recreation Projects in Allegheny, Westmoreland

Harrisburg – October 24, 2016 – State Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) said that he welcomes new state investment in communities throughout his district after today’s announcement that the state’s Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) approved grants for key recreation projects in Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties.

At a morning meeting in Harrisburg, the CFA approved four projects in Brewster’s district.  One project, K-9 Officer Derek Kotecki Memorial Park, is in Westmoreland County, while the other three are in Allegheny – in Port Vue, East Pittsburgh and Turtle Creek.

“There is no question the funds earmarked for these four projects will fill a crucial need,” Brewster said.  “Municipalities already stretch local tax dollars but often they are not enough to meet the demand for capital improvements, especially in smaller cash-strapped communities.

“These funds, which add to a local community’s quality of life, will enable important recreational projects to be completed.”

Brewster said that the CFA approved the following:

  • $50,000 for the City of Lower Burrell in Westmoreland County to renovate former Wolf Pack Park which is now K-9 Officer Derek Kotecki Memorial Park.  The project includes the development of a memorial to Officer Kotecki that involves a sculpture, landscaping, steel and stone archway, park entrance and paved parking lot;
  • $50,000 in Greenways, Trails and Recreation funds to renovate the tot lot in Romine Park in Port Vue.  The park has outdated equipment and it is not accessible for children with disabilities.  The funding will be used to install a new swing set and play activity climber and to retrofit equipment to make it ADA accessible;
  • $35,000 for improvements to Quarry Field in East Pittsburgh Borough.  The new CFA dollars will be used to construct a walking trail and five exercise stations, in addition to a new park access point from the parking lot;
  • $50,000 has been granted to Turtle Creek Borough to rehabilitate the playground at Hamilton Park.  The equipment in the park will be updated and the pavilion roof replaced.

The CFA was established in 2004 to administer economic stimulus programs.  It is an independent agency of the Department of Community and Economic Development.

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Brewster: $4.2 Million for McKeesport Commons, RIDC and New Kensington Development

Harrisburg – October 14, 2016 – A total of $4.2 million in state grant funding has been approved for three important economic development projects in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, state Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) said today.

In Allegheny County, the former EchoStar Call Center at McKeesport Commons will be redeveloped with a $1 million state grant to accommodate future office needs.  In addition, Keystone Commons is slated to receive $2 million in state grant funding to continue development of the site in the Turtle Creek Valley.

Meanwhile, in Westmoreland County, New Kensington has been given $1.2 million to acquire properties between the Allegheny River and Constitution Boulevard from 9th Street to the City of Arnold.

“Creating jobs and business opportunities is a critical part of rebuilding the tax base and fashioning a brighter future for the region” Brewster said.  “As a former mayor, I know how important it is to have sites ready to capitalize on potential development.”

Brewster said that accessing state resources to bolster local development is essential to helping the region with its economic recovery.

“The grants for McKeesport, Keystone Commons and New Kensington can help attract new business and industry,” Brewster said.  “The state grants will help retool these sites, create regional assets and position them for future development.”

The grants were awarded through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP).  RACP grants can be used for acquisition and construction of economic development projects in a number of categories including cultural, civic, recreation and historical.

“RACP grants are a critical economic tool that can spur development and job creation.” Brewster said.

Brewster said that the $2 million for Keystone Commons involves land development, infrastructure improvements, building reconstruction and development of new buildings.

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Allegheny and Westmoreland County Grant Projects Approved, Brewster Says

Harrisburg – Jan. 29, 2016 – Four grants for projects designed to improve recreational opportunities in the Allegheny and Westmoreland County portions of state Sen. Jim Brewster’s (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) district were awarded by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), the senator said today.

The grants, with a total value in excess of $750,000, are related to the development of the Youghiogheny River Trail located in Elizabeth Township and Lincoln Borough in Allegheny County and the Westmoreland Heritage Trail which runs from Monroeville through the Westmoreland County communities of Trafford, Penn Township and Murrysville.

Funds were also approved for improved access and expansion of the Dead Man’s Hollow Conservation Area in Allegheny County.

“Continued development of recreational areas, improving access to open space and constructing trails that connect people and communities are investments that will pay dividends for generations to come,” Brewster said. “The grants will be put to excellent use and greatly enhance the preservation of natural resources while promoting community development.”

The grants were awarded under DCNR’s Community Conservations Partnership Program.

Brewster said that two grants were approved for the Allegheny Land Trust to improve access and expand Dead Man’s Hollow Conservation Area in Elizabeth Township and Lincoln Borough. The first grant of $13,400 is for open space and access to the site. The second grant of $20,400 will be used as a payment toward acquisition of 7.75 acres.

The Regional Trail Corporation has been awarded $247,900 for the rehabilitation of the Youghiogheny River Trail in Elizabeth Township and Lincoln Borough. An estimated 11.2 miles of the trail is involved in the project and the refurbishment includes landscaping, ADA access and signage.

A $500,000 grant was also awarded for further development of the Westmoreland Heritage Trail that runs through Monroeville in Allegheny County through Trafford, Penn Township and Murrysville in Westmoreland. The project involves construction, landscaping, signage and site improvements along a 5.6 mile trail from B-Y Park in Trafford to Roberts Parcel in Murrysville.

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