WILKES-BARRE — Several Luzerne County municipalities were notified Tuesday they will share in more than $1.5 million in grant money for projects to improve water infrastructure, promote community development, and protect the environment.
Gov. Tom Wolf announced 359 new project approvals through the Commonwealth Financing Authority. They include 236 Small Water and Sewer Program projects to protect and improve municipalities’ water systems, and 123 projects using funds collected from the impact fee on unconventional gas wells in the Marcellus Shale which will support public services and environmental protection.
“These projects will ensure that vital services are being provided to communities all across the commonwealth,” Wolf said in a press release. “From ensuring Pennsylvanians have access to clean water, to protecting communities from the devastating effects of flooding, to simply giving residents the chance to hike a new trail in their community, these projects will improve the quality of life for countless families and individuals across the commonwealth.”
State Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Newport Township, said $807,771 in grants were awarded for four projects in the portion of Luzerne County that he represents.
“These dollars help us make needed improvements in our parks, trails, water supplies and sanitary systems,” Mullery said.
The four grants and their associated projects include:
• Plymouth Township: $325,000 for sanitary swear improvements on a segment of Driscoll and Bradley streets as well as a section of Jersey Road.
• Foster Township: $325,000 to extend a sewer line along Route 940 (Foster Avenue), serving eight existing property owners and six vacant properties over a 12-acre radius.
• White Haven: $125,600 to develop a new park that will provide safe pedestrian access between the community, library and the Delaware and Lehigh Trail. The project will also add native plantings, rain gardens, a stormwater drainage system, installation of handicapped-compliant walkways from Towanda Street to the library, walkway lighting and protective fencing along the active rail line.
• Rice Township: $32,171 to assist with park construction.
Rep. Aaron Kaufer, R-Kingston, announced West Pittston is the recipient of a $160,000 Pennsylvania Small Water and Sewer Program grant to replace a century-old sewer main.
“Aging infrastructure is an issue throughout Pennsylvania and the nation. This grant helps address the problem head-on,” Kaufer said. “I applaud the Commonwealth Financing Authority for seeing the merits of this project.”
Specifically, the grant will be used to partially fund the replacement of a 120-year-old sewer main along Luzerne Avenue between Salem and Franklin streets. The current line sagged due to mine caves, causing sewer backups and property damage.
Fairview, Hanover, Ashley
State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Wilkes-Barre, and state Sen. John Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township, announced the approval of three Commonwealth Financing Authority grants totaling $723,062 for Fairview Township, Hanover Township and Ashley Borough.
The funds will go to three separate projects:
• $60,562 to Fairview Township to renovate a basketball court at Memorial Park. The grant will pay to excavate and remove the old basketball court. The area will then be graded, leveled and new asphalt will be poured for the two new basketball posts with backboards. The project will also include line painting, fence installation and fixing benches and picnic tables.
• $300,000 to Ashley for the Sulfur Run construction project. The grant will go toward flood mitigation of Sulphur Run, a tributary which flows into Solomon Creek. The project will consist of a new alignment of Sulphur Run, including 65 feet of rip-rap, 2,250 feet of concrete box culvert and 347 feet of cast-in-place open channel.
• $362,500 to Hanover Township for phase 2B of the Solomon Creek Interceptor rehabilitation. The grant will pay to rehabilitate 830 linear feet of the Solomon Creek Interceptor located along First Street. The existing interceptor is composed of 100-year-old vitrified clay pipe varying in size from 8 to 39 inches that will be inspected and repaired or replaced depending on its condition.
Pashinski said the CFA has been instrumental in helping deal with infrastructure and flooding issues in the area.
“These improvements will help keep people safe, limit flood damage and ensure that the repairs will last long into the future,” Pashinski said.
The Commonwealth Financing Authority was established in 2004 as an independent agency of the Department of Community and Economic Development to administer Pennsylvania’s economic stimulus packages. The CFA holds fiduciary responsibility over the funding of programs and investments in Pennsylvania’s economic growth. The CFA consists of seven board members — four legislative appointees and the secretaries of DCED, the Office of the Budget and Department of Banking.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.