Westmoreland Development Council Newsletter
Seal of Westmoreland County

Community Development

FY 2018 Westmoreland County’s CPD Formula Programs Allocation Announced 

The U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the Fiscal Year 2018 allocations for the Community Planning and Development (CPD) programs, which provide funding for housing, community and economic development activities, and assistance for low and moderate-income persons and special populations across the country.  

The appropriation to Westmoreland County included substantial increases for two programs that will significantly enhance the benefits for residents of the county.  The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) appropriation of $3,409, 812 was an increase by 9% compared to 2017, and the HOME Investment Partnership (HOME) Program appropriation $968,292, was an increase by 63% compared to 2017. The Community Development Division would like to thank our state delegation and county commissioners for advocating for the funding increase. 

The Westmoreland County’s Community Development Division will submit its FY 2018 Annual Action Plan by June 26, 2018, for HUD’s review and approval.  The municipalities and non-profit agencies that were incorporated into the plan will be notified by staff of the Community Development Division when allocations will be available to initiate projects.


Affordable Housing

In April, the county was awarded a grant from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency in the amount of $120,000 under the PHARE program for Westmoreland County to partner with the City of Jeannette and the Westmoreland County Housing Authority (WCHA) to support homeownership opportunities and the preservation of affordable rental units.

The City of Jeannette’s Homebuyer Assistance Program will provide financial assistance to eligible families or households to become homeowners within the city through down payment and closing cost assistance.  PHARE funds in the amount of $40,000 will be used in conjunction with $50,000 of HOME Investment Partnership Program funds.

WCHA will rehabilitate 12 affordable rental housing units they own at Shaner Heights Development in Sewickley Township.  The rehabilitation of these units will assist households below 50% of median area income. PHARE funds in the amount of $80,000 will be used in conjunction with the WCHA’s commitment of $830,865 for additional improvements at the development which includes additional unit rehabilitation and a sewage line extension.

 
 Shaner Heights Development in Sewickley Township
Westmoreland County Housing Authority will rehabilitate 12 affordable rental housing units they own at Shaner Heights Development in Sewickley Township.
Economic Growth Connection of Westmoreland

Economic Growth Connection

EGC Diverse Business Owner Financing Initiative

EGC has partnered with the Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Authority (PMBDA), the Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority (PEDFA) to offer loans to business owners of diverse background.

“The Diverse Business Financing Initiative is not only the right thing to do; it’s about giving Westmoreland County the competitive edge we need in an increasingly competitive marketplace by ensuring access to capital for all business owners, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, and disabled or veteran status,” said EGC Business Development Officer Greg Daigle.

Eligible uses for the loans include, equipment, working capital, employee training, remodeling, and energy improvements.  “EGC will be the underwriter of these loans so the 5 C’s of lending are important. We also understand the need to re-frame the way lending has traditionally been done, and be a provider of solutions for an underserved segment of the business community,” explained Daigle. Please contact EGC directly, at (724) 830-3604, and ask about the Diversity Loan Program, or email Greg Daigle at gdaigle@egcw.org.

Financing Rates Are Low

PIDA Financing Rates are still LOW!

Interest Rates on Commercial and Industrial Loans are very competitive, so act today. Review details on the EGC website.

Plus, there have been two major enhancements to the PIDA Program. The first is the increase in Equipment Loan funding up to $5,000,000 from the previous maximum of $1,500,000.  The second is that Healthcare facilities are now considered as eligible industrial enterprises under PIDA. See the link above for details.
All rates stated are good for applications submitted to PIDA by 6/30/18. Contact Greg Daigle for details gdaigle@egcw.org

Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corporation

Industrial Development Corporation

WCIDC Acquires 206 Acres
In April, the Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corporation acquired 206 acres in Sewickley Township from Westinghouse Electric Company. The property will be developed into the county’s newest industrial park, Commerce Crossing at Westmoreland. The park will accommodate the need companies have for pad-ready sites with direct access to active rail and the interstate highway system. WCIDC was awarded $1 million in RACP grant funding and Business in Our Sites funding in the amount of a $3.8 million grant and $5.8 million loan. The funding will be used for land acquisition, site preparation, utilities, engineering, and administrative costs. When completed the park will house approximately 1,000 jobs. Read more here

Commerce Crossing at Westmoreland Parcel
In April, WCIDC acquired 206 acres in Sewickley Township from Westinghouse Electric Company. The property will be developed into the county’s newest industrial park, Commerce Crossing at Westmoreland.

AssetGenie Expands to 120,000 SF
In March, AssetGenie signed a 3-year lease extension adding 36,256 square-feet of space and bringing their total footprint at South Greensburg Commons to approximately 120,000 square feet. The company, which offers a wide range of products and services in the computer industry, first located at the South Greensburg Commons in 2006 and has tripled in size since. AssetGenie currently employs 140 people and plan to use the additional space for a new business operation that will employ an additional 30 people within the next year.

GreenForge Is Fully Leased
The 23,000-square-foot GreenForge building located on Donohoe Road in Hempfield Township is now fully leased. True Health and Fitness signed a 5-year lease agreement in May for the remaining 1,940 square-feet of office space. This space is in addition to the 2,630 square-feet fitness facility True Health and Fitness currently leases at Greenforge for their personal training and small group training classes. The new space will be a multidisciplinary clinic offering chiropractic, acupuncture, and massage therapy.

 
GreenForge Building
The Greenforge building, located on Donohoe Road in Hempfield Township, is fully leased. 
The Corner Logo

Check Out The Corner
The Corner in New Kensington is your destination for entrepreneurial learning, coworking, and community activity. If you haven’t checked it out, you need to see this amazing space that is thoughtfully designed and equipped for individuals and small organizations, residents, and visiting businesses. Plan your visit today by checking out the website

 
Reimagining Our Westmoreland Logo

Planning Division

Comprehensive Plan Update
Reimagining Our Westmoreland has recently unveiled draft strategies developed by the consultant team, Planning Division staff, planning partners, and 12 focus groups. The draft strategies are framed within the context of seven core objectives to help the County attract, develop, and retain a diverse and stable workforce that will sustain a healthy economy. 

Several Planning District meetings have been held throughout the county for individuals to review the core objectives, and rate and rank the draft strategies. The final meeting will be held on May 23 at 6:00 pm at the Loyalhanna Watershed Association in Ligonier.

An online survey is also available to those who are unable to attend a meeting. Click here to take the survey. The survey runs through the end of May.

The Comprehensive Plan is expected to be completed in late 2018. To learn more, visit the Reimagining Our Westmoreland project website or Facebook page.
 
Technical Resources and Municipal Services Program

Technical Resources and Municipal Services Program (TRAMS) Activity
County Planning staff, through the TRAMS program, has been able to provide a number of municipalities with professional planning services. The Planning Division is currently working on a Corridor Plan for Route 119 in Youngwood Borough. Working in conjunction with the borough and PennDOT on the reconstruction of Route 119, the Corridor Plan will incorporate a land use and blight inventory, as well as a State of Place analysis. Youngwood is also considering the Division’s services to develop a zoning ordinance for the borough.

In South Greensburg Borough, Planning staff is gearing up to develop a new Comprehensive Plan for the borough. 

Additionally, Planning staff continues to maintain their relationship with the City of Jeannette, providing ongoing professional assistance for their Planning Commission.

For more information on the TRAMS Program, please contact Brian Lawrence at 724-830-3772 or blawrenc@co.westmoreland.pa.us.

2019-2022 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Update
County Planning staff has been working with municipalities and PennDOT to develop projects for the draft Transportation Improvement Program. The TIP identifies the region’s priority roadway, transit, and multimodal transportation improvements programmed for advancement over the next four years.

A Public Participation Panel meeting to discuss the draft TIP will be held on May 31 at 5:00 pm at the County Courthouse in Greensburg. 

Documents will also be available at the County Planning Department and spcregion.org for review. Comments must be received by 4:00 pm on June 13, 2018.

Laurel Valley Improvement Project Refined 
Preliminary Engineering is underway on Laurel Valley Transportation Improvement Project (LVTIP) Section 1: Route 819 to Norvelt. The Project Team completed an analysis to more closely evaluate portions of Section 1 to determine a Preferred Option and provide appropriate intersection improvements. 

Section 1 improvement concepts were identified during the LVTIP Feasibility Study which was concluded in 2017. Specifically, the Project Team recently studied two design options for the portion of Section 1 from a point north of where Route 981 crosses under the Pennsylvania Turnpike to south of Walton’s Lane. The two proposed design options, Concept 1 (Online Option) and Concept 3 (Offline Option), were identified during the study. 

For both of the options, the Project Team evaluated impacts to the surrounding community, environment, construction feasibility, and costs. Based on the results of the analysis, an Offline Option was identified to best meet the needs of the project with minimized impacts. 

More detailed information about the LVTIP can be found at the project website: www.laurelvalleyproject.com. Additional updates will be posted on the website as the project progresses. 

 
Laurel Valley Transportation Improvement Project
The County of Westmoreland Redevelopment Authority and Land Bank

Land Bank Property Gets Makeover
In April, the Westmoreland County Land Bank (WCLB) held a “Clean-Up Event” for exterior improvements at one of its properties located at 416 Wayne Avenue in Greensburg. This home is part of the WCLB’s Home Ownership Program, which appeals to low-to-moderate income residents around the county. The materials used to make the landscape improvements were kindly donated from local businesses. These donations along with volunteer efforts have enabled this property to add value to the neighborhood instead of the nuisance it once was. The outcome is visibly a success and the future occupants of the home will certainly appreciate the transformation. The home is currently listed with Berkshire Hathaway for $72,000. Interested buyers can contact Joanne Waszo or Jacquie Williams at 724-838-3660. The listing can be found here.

 
Before and After of Wayne Ave House

Accessible Housing Program Helps Local Veteran
The Redevelopment Authority of the County of Westmoreland recently completed a home modification for a Veteran located in Monessen. The Accessible Housing Program assists low-to-moderate income residents who are permanently physically disabled by installing either a ramp or stair lift. The modification was made possible through RACW’s own match funds for the PHARE RTT Grant. The lift has significantly increased the applicant’s everyday life by allowing him the freedom to maneuver through his own home. The RACW is proud to assist in such a meaningful project and is looking forward to many more as the program continues. Applications for the Accessible Housing Program can be found here.

EPA Brownfield Assessment Funding Available
The Redevelopment Authority of the County of Westmoreland (RACW) in partnership with the EPA has grant money for Phase I and Phase II environmental site assessments for brownfields. These environmental assessments are meant for any possibly contaminated site that wants to reposition itself for active reuse. Site examples include gas stations, manufacturing facilities, airports, dry cleaners, schools, etc.  Anyone from bankers to site developers are prospects for the funding. More information and applications can be found at: www.westmorelandredevelopment.com

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