Lackawanna County storefronts could get facelift via new grants
Public meetings have been set in Carbondale and Scranton first full week of February to hear about a grant opportunity to improve commercial building façades.
The PA Route 6 Alliance and partner Lackawanna Heritage Valley National and State Heritage Area recently announced the award of $100,000 through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s (DCED) Keystone Communities Program. Additional support comes from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).
The PA Route 6 Façade Program provides local business owners with matching funds to improve storefronts and other projects.
Lackawanna County commercial building owners and businesses/nonprofits (with property owner approval) will be able to apply for up to $5,000 each toward upgrades and improvements of their building’s façade (front exterior visible from the road).
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Recipients will be required to invest 1:1 matching funds into the project making a maximum total project cost of no more than $10,000.
Commercial buildings may be located anywhere in Lackawanna County, and eligible improvements include but are not limited to exterior paint, new signage, windows, and canvas awning replacement.
Prior programs have resulted in façade and storefront improvements to 111 businesses with an estimated economic impact of over $1 million in these communities.
“We are grateful for the continued support of the DCED and the DCNR so that we can offer the façade program to businesses throughout the Route 6 corridor,” said Candace Hillyard, executive director of PA Route 6 Alliance, “and we’re excited to work with our partners to help local businesses in Lackawanna County. Our goal is to eventually host the program in all 11 counties across the PA Route 6 corridor.”
Owen Worozbyt, director of operations for the Lackawanna Heritage Valley National and State Heritage Area, is hopeful that the façade grant program will be a welcome endeavor for addressing the needs of local business owners.
“We’re enthusiastic about working alongside the PA Route 6 Alliance to bring this program to the Lackawanna Heritage Valley,” said Worozbyt.
“We hope that the façade program helps to reinvigorate a number of Lackawanna County’s local establishments, ultimately improving the economic vitality of our region’s small businesses and strengthening the quality of life for our residents and visitors.”
The Alliance estimates that 20-25 businesses in Lackawanna County will benefit from the current grant through DCDED’s Keystone Communities Program.
The Keystone Communities Program is designed to encourage the creation of partnerships between the public and private sectors that jointly support local initiatives such as the growth and stability of neighborhoods and communities, social and economic diversity, and a strong and secure quality of life.
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The program allows communities to tailor the assistance to meet the needs of its specific revitalization.
All funds from these projects stay local. Projects engage local contractors, construction companies, hardware stores, and sign shops, all of whom employ local residents. The result is a trickle-down effect that stimulates local economies and has a much larger economic impact that extends well beyond the funds associated with each grant.
Public meetings to explain the guidelines and grant procedures are scheduled for:
6 p.m. Tuesday, February 7, at Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, 27 North Main St., Carbondale
10 a.m. Wednesday, February 8, at Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, 27 North Main St., Carbondale
6 p.m. Wednesday, February 8, at the Lackawanna Heritage Valley National and State Heritage Area, 213 Railroad Ave., Scranton
10 a.m., Thursday, February 9, at the Lackawanna Heritage Valley National and State Heritage Area, 213, Railroad Ave., Scranton
All applicants are required to attend a meeting as well as connect with Façade Program Coordinator to discuss their potential projects before applying.
Additionally, a virtual Zoom meeting will take place at 6 p.m., Feb. 16. Attendees must pre-register for all meetings and follow-up emails will be sent with additional information and links for the Zoom meeting.
For more information about the PA Route 6 Façade Program or to register for a public meeting, visit paroute6.com/pa-route-6-facade-program-in-lackawanna-county.
This article originally appeared on Tri-County Independent: Lackawanna County storefronts could get facelift via new grants