Senator Browne Announces State RACP Funding for Lehigh Valley Projects

LEHIGH VALLEY, PA –Four Lehigh Valley projects, have received funding approval from the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) according to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Pat Browne (R-16), who lead the effort to secure funding.

“These awards represent a significant opportunity to leverage local investment that will lead to   substantial new projects for the betterment of the Lehigh Valley,” Senator Browne said. “Each of these projects have the potential to be a catalyst to transform and improve their respective communities.”

All four projects had previously been legislatively authorized and are shovel-ready, with groundbreakings expected in late 2020 or early 2021.

New Vitae Wellness and Recovery Center will be awarded $500,000 to support the construction of the expansion of their Mount Trexler Manor Veterans and Brain Injury Center. This expansion is in response to the increased need for specialized care for individuals with traumatic brain injuries or mental health challenges, especially for veterans. RACP funding allows New Vitae to build six eight-bed (48 beds total) treatment cottages in Lehigh County. Each cottage will be self-sufficient with bedrooms and baths, a medication room, a kitchen, community areas, laundry facilities and a learning lab. They will be staffed 24/7 allowing for individualized care to be delivered in a conducive and unique setting.

A much needed new 245-space garage in the City of Easton will be aided by a $500,000 RACP award for its construction, secured by the joint efforts of Sen. Browne, Sen. Boscola (SD-18) and Rep. Bob Freeman (HD-136). The garage, which will be located at 185 S. 3rd street in Easton, is needed to alleviate current parking concerns and spur development of three mixed-use buildings.

“I am very pleased that Senators Browne and Boscola were able to secure this critical RACP funding for the South Third Street project. This sum along with the RACP funding that I was able to secure earlier this year should provide the essential funding necessary to move this major mixed used development forward to becoming the significant anchor on South Third Street that has been envisioned for the site,” said Rep. Bob Freeman.

“These projects demonstrate the importance of our Lehigh Valley delegation working together,” Boscola stated.  “It was the efforts of both Senator Pat Browne and myself that brought important funding to the S. 3rd Street Garage project in the City of Easton that will increase both housing and economic opportunities in downtown Easton.”

In order to complete its Ridge Farms Medical Office Building, Kay Builders will receive a $500,000 RACP award. The three-story, 45,000-square-foot Medical Office Building will provide medical care to residents throughout the area. This project is part of The Ridge Farms development, a $350 million, 138-acre mixed-use walkable community at the southeastern gateway to South Whitehall Township that also includes retail, restaurants, open space and 780 units of housing.

Finally, DeSales University will be awarded $1,000,000, for the construction of a new academic facility, the DeSales University Medical Studies Building. The building will be a 40,000 square foot facility, which will house their Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and Speech Language Pathology (SLP) programs. The building will contain labs needed for hands-on instruction for both DPT and SLP, as well as administrative and faculty offices, a lecture hall, classrooms, a student lounge and storage areas. The building may also house a teaching clinic.

In addition to the above projects, Sen. Browne was central in the efforts to secure $4 million in additional RACP funding for the Lehigh Valley International Airport Terminal Connector, Capital BlueCross’ Allentown Office Renovations, Little Lehigh housing development and the Lehigh County Humane Society’s construction of a new state-of-the-art Community Veterinary Clinic and Community Adoption Center.

The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program is a Commonwealth grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects. RACP projects are authorized in the Redevelopment Assistance section of a Capital Budget Itemization Act, have a regional or multi-jurisdictional impact, and generate substantial increases or maintain current levels of employment, tax revenues, or other measures of economic activity.

 

CONTACT: Matt Szuchyt- Mszuchyt@pasen.gov, 610-360-8426