January brings many state-of-the-state addresses by governors, who announce their priorities and budget plans for the coming year. In Pennsylvania, however, many counties didn’t have to wait for 2020’s speech to know some money was coming their way for infrastructure and construction needs. On December 30, Governor Tom Wolf announced the approval of more than $5 million in funding through the Keystone Communities program for 42 revitalization projects that include construction and business development.
The following funds and projects were included in the governor’s announcement:
- Quakertown: $50,000 façade grant for a façade improvement program in the designated Keystone Main Street area of Quakertown Borough, benefiting at least ten storefronts.
- Redevelopment Authority of Bucks County: $50,000 façade grant for a façade improvement program in downtown Bristol, benefiting at least ten storefronts.
- Lansdowne Economic Development Corp.: $50,000 to assist in the construction of the Lansdowne Maker Space, a 2,500-square-foot tech-based maker space.
- City of Philadelphia: $250,000 for renovations to the Happy Hollow playground at the Happy Hollow Recreation Center in Germantown, to address the failing conditions of the playground and to restructure its layout, install new site furnishings and lighting, replace equipment, purchase and install safety surface material and new outdoor fitness equipment.
Wolf is also hoping his state legislature backs his Restore Pennsylvania multibillion-dollar capital plan that he proposed last year to help with the state’s infrastructure issues. Funding the plan requires a severance tax on natural gas and has met with resistance. Wolf recently tweeted that if the plan gets approved, some of that money can be used to help with the infrastructure issues in Philadelphia schools—including remediating contaminants such as asbestos.
Four Philadelphia schools had to close this school year because of asbestos. The superintendent recently outlined an Environmental Safety Improvement Plan, which will use $12 million in funds from its budget to speed up asbestos abatement in the impacted schools.