Westmoreland Development Council Newsletter
Seal of Westmoreland County

Community Development

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program
Westmoreland County’s Community Development Division submitted its FY 2018 Annual Action Plan to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on July 2, 2018.  In August, the department received notification of HUD’s review and plan approval.  

The appropriation to Westmoreland County included $281,726 for the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG). Plus, 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 type of projects within the Annual Action plan include, but are not limited to, street construction, stormwater facilities, permanent supportive housing for families and individuals, and recreational facilities. The municipalities and non-profit agencies that were incorporated within the plan will be notified by staff on when allocations will be available to initiate projects.

Union Mission - Men’s Homeless Shelter, Latrobe
In July, site work began for the construction of Union Mission’s new Men’s Shelter in the City of Latrobe.  

With the population of homeless men that continues to grow, the current facility, the only “men’s shelter” in Westmoreland County, is annually at 100 % occupancy and regularly has to turn away men who need shelter due to its size and condition. The construction of the new 24-bed facility will assist in providing this special needs population with a safe refuge. In addition, structured supportive programs are arranged to help the men of the Mission to reach their goals and return as productive, respectful members of the community.

 
Union Mission - Men’s Homeless Shelter, Latrobe
A groundbreaking ceremony for the Union Mission took place in June.
Economic Growth Connection of Westmoreland

Economic Growth Connection

PIDA Financing

The EGC was able to assist two Westmoreland County businesses in receiving approval for low-interest loans through the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) program. The two projects will help create and retain approximately 125 jobs within the county. 

Astley Precision Machine Company, Inc., a producer of precision machined components for the medical, scientific, and defense industries, will use the funding for acquisition and renovation of a 51,000-square-foot building in Irwin. 

Zilka & Company, LLC, a family-owned bakery supplier, will use the funding they received for the construction of a 62,000-square-foot facility located in Hempfield Township. 

You can read more about both projects here: http://bit.ly/2NUWWU5


 
West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund

West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund
The EGC is the financial administrator of the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund which recently awarded a $75,000 grant to Penn State New Kensington.
The grant will aid Penn State New Kensington in incorporating sustainability and best practices to the Corridor of Innovation and revitalization efforts in the city of New Kensington.
Read more: http://bit.ly/2mOvlYu

Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corporation

Industrial Development Corporation

Jeannette Glass Site 
In March, the WCIDC Board of Directors approved a Purchase and Sales Agreement with Elliott Co. for this lot, and Elliott Co. is considering the construction of a cryogenic pump test stand on the property. 

The completion of the site preparation phase took place at the Jeannette Glass Site took place in July. This phase included slab, footer and foundation removal, concrete crushing, and site grading. Throughout the project, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) played an important role in expediting and finalizing the environmental remediation plan and with securing an Act II clearance at the site. Green grass is now growing at the 13-acre site located in the downtown section of Jeannette.

 
Jeannette Glass Site before demoliotn
The aerial photo was taken in 2017 before demolition and remediation at the site. 
Jeannette Glass Site
Green grass is now growing at 13-acre Jeannette Glass Site. 

Peoples Gas Partners with WCIDC Park Tenant
Mount Pleasant Glass Centre tenant, WATT Fuel Cell, is partnering with Peoples Gas to bring new technology to area homes. Peoples Gas will be launching a 100-home pilot program to see if solid oxide fuel cells produced by WATT and powered by natural gas can power an entire house.  Read more about this partnership and the story behind WATT’s move from Long Island to Westmoreland County. 

Food Truck Event & Park Hub
Tenants at the Westmoreland Business & Research Park and the surrounding community were able to satisfy their lunchtime cravings at WCIDC’s food truck event on August 1.  Accrotool generously allowed WCIDC to use a portion of their parking lot to host the five vendors in attendance. At the event, WCIDC asked the lunchtime crowd to Imagine the Park Hub. WCIDC is in the process of formulating a blueprint for a more vibrant industrial park environment that may include outdoor gathering spaces, food opportunities, trails and recreational amenities. Recently, a consultant was engaged to study the possibilities of a trail network and more centralized public openspace (the Hub) within the Park. By the end of 2018, the WCIDC will have developed a master plan illustrating these services and amenities

 

Company Spotlight
With its expansive area, access to major transportation arteries, comprehensive industrial park system and strong work ethic, Westmoreland County has the business climate to assure success. That's why so many companies have grown strong right here. WCIDC is highlighting those stories in our Company Spotlight.

Our latest spotlight is on South Greensburg Commons. In August, the Westmoreland County Commissioners toured the businesses of South Greensburg Commons' three tenants: Standard Envelopes, AGI Group, and Precision Metal Crafters.
The commissioners were able to see first-hand how these companies are thriving in Westmoreland County. Read more here

 
South Greensburg Commons
Technical Resources and Municipal Services Program (TRAMS)

Planning Division

TRAMS
South Greensburg Comprehensive Plan
South Greensburg residents and officials made an important first step in the comprehensive plan process on August 8. Roughly 30 residents and local officials attended the first public meeting to get informed on the community’s current trajectory and start identifying opportunities and threats. Attendees learned about the their demographics, housing stock and economic outlook from county planners. Then, they were lead through a public exercise that identified the places residents care for, what they want to see change and how to accomplish those changes. The overwhelming top issue identified as a concern was the nature and extent of blighted homes and businesses.

The next step in the process will be the delivery of a Critical Issues Summary, prepared by county planners. Then, the second of two public meetings scheduled for September 19th at 6:00 PM will focus on developing a vision for the community over the next ten years. The final comprehensive plan will be delivered by the end of the year.

Work is being completed under the County Planning Division’s Technical Resources and Municipal Services Program (TRAMS). The aim of the program is to connect local communities with the staff resources of county planners and to drive implementation of the new county comprehensive plan, Reimagining Our Westmoreland.
  
Youngwood 119 Corridor Plan
Youngwood residents are in a unique position to redesign the Route 119 corridor that has defined the community for over fifty years. The Planning Division, with its partners, PennDOT and Stantec Engineering are working with a committee of nearly a dozen stakeholders to craft this vision for the corridor. 

As PennDOT readies to completely reconstruct the street, beginning in 2020, utility companies are preparing to move lines from the center of travel lanes into parking lanes. 

The roadway will look and function substantially different than in the past. The new Route 119 will feature a series of traffic calming measures to tame traffic and improve the livability of homes and the viability of businesses.

The overall goal of the corridor plan is to coordinate activities that support development and redevelopment in the corridor. The next step to support that effort is a future land use plan. A future land use plan will layout the ideal character for the area in the next 10 to 15 years.
 

TRANSPORTATION
2019-2022 Transportation Improvement Program
The 2019-2022 Transportation Improvement Program has been recommended for adoption. The TIP identifies the region’s priority roadway, transit, and multimodal transportation improvements programmed for advancement over the next four years. The update represents a total of $4.9 billion in transportation investments for the region, with $1.79 billion going towards roadways and bridges, and $2.1 billion towards public transit.  

Livability Through Smart Transportation Program
Westmoreland County had two projects recommended for funding through SPC’s SMART Program. The competitive funding program will fund a total of nine projects, including traffic calming for the US 119 reconstruction project in Youngwood ($1 million), and the Greensburg Health Care District and Neighborhood Trail Connection project ($438,400).

Laurel Valley Transportation Improvement Project
Preliminary engineering is underway for Section Q20 (Mount Pleasant to Norvelt) as a preferred offline option has been identified through extensive public input and analysis. Three roundabouts will be included in Section Q20 at the intersections of 981/819, 981/2007, and 981/2021/2007. 

Westmoreland County recently made application to the US Department of Transportation for $25 million for Section Q20 through the BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grant program. The LVTIP application is one of eight from Pennsylvania.

 
Proposed roundabout in Norvelt
Proposed roundabout in Norvelt  

SPC’s Long Range Plan
County Planning staff have been working with leaders and experts throughout the region to identify issues and develop strategies concerning major forces of change. These forces of change are a range of global, national, and regional trends that could have positive or negative impacts on the region. The plan will consider the forces of demographics, economy, funding, environment, and technology, and how we can adapt to best take advantage of opportunities they may create, and mitigate the disruptions they may cause. 

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission is seeking input on the forces of change that have potential to significantly impact the southwestern PA region. Please take the survey here. Responses will help shape the next regional plan for southwestern PA.

 
Reimagining Our Westmoreland

Comprehensive Plan
Progress
We’re heading for the final stretch in the comprehensive planning process, Reimagining Our Westmoreland. Over the past few months, staff was busy developing an online survey and leading seven public meetings throughout the county. Our goal in that effort was to have residents evaluate the draft strategies. Over the next several months we’ll be putting the final touches on the draft plan. We’ll also be preparing for an open house where the public can learn about the final draft and provide their thoughts on it.

Planning Districts
One of the more innovative ideas generated from the comprehensive plan is the creation of sub-county, regional plans. The old adage of thinking globally and acting locally rings true here. Accomplishing the strategies and action steps for regional change requires partnership at the local level. Yet, with 65 municipalities, that partnership will remain elusive. 

By working with every community, within the framework of these seven planning districts, we can share the best practices that can help shape communities for a better future.

 
Planning Districts
Being incorporated in the comprehensive plan is the concept of seven regional Planning Districts.

NEWS OF NOTE
Congratulations to Planning staff's Assitant Deputy Director, Daniel Carpenter! Daniel was recently elected Treasurer of the Southwest Section of the PA Chapter of the American Planning Association. He will serve a two-year term beginning in 2019.

 
The County of Westmoreland Redevelopment Authority and Land Bank

Campaign Kicks Off for Sutersville Park Expansion 
Sutersville Borough and the Westmoreland County Land Bank (WCLB) are seeking local businesses and individuals to fund an expansion project for Suterville’s Community Park on First Avenue. The WCLB demolished an abandoned, blighted structure that was next door to the park to create an expansion area. Westmoreland County provided funding and The Community Foundation’s “Youth Voice in Philanthropy Program Fund.” Two additional blighted structures located on First Avenue were also demolished with the grant dollars, improving the town’s gateway to the park.

Keeping with the town’s history, the Play Train Set chosen for the expansion is a four piece train aimed toward the 2-5 year-old age group, making the park now inclusive to all ages. The WCLB will purchase the first piece of the continuing set and businesses or individuals who are donors for entire pieces will receive an engraved plaque on the section of train sponsored.

Interested sponsors can visit the WCLB’s Facebook page or call 724-830-3085 for more information. In addition to monetary donations, Sutersville is also seeking volunteer efforts to help clean the existing recreational area and potentially install the new equipment. The revitalization and expansion project is scheduled to be complete in the fall of this year. 

 

Westmoreland County Land Bank Announces its Summer Sale
The Board of Directors of the WCLB announced a “Summer Sale” for vacant lots located throughout the County. The limited time promotion will make available land bank properties for a flat rate fee of $4,500 - inclusive of transfer fees and closing costs. The Summer Sale properties are vacant parcels, positioned for residential reuse. The Land Bank, in partnership with the Redevelopment Authority of the County of Westmoreland, demolished blighted structures on the lots to make way for new growth. Land Bank Summer Sale properties can be found at www.westmorelandlandbank.com

Demolition Services Create New Development Opportunities in Mt.Pleasant
The Redevelopment Authority of the County of Westmoreland (RACW) is an advocate for downtown and neighborhood initiatives in the County and is active in a variety of strategic partnerships to promote community revitalization and reinvestment in business districts and neighborhoods. The RACW in partnership with the WCLB will soon begin a large blight removal positioning the land for redevelopment in the Borough of Mount Pleasant.  Funded in part by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), the RACW will facilitate the demolition of these two abandoned and condemned commercial properties located along the Route 31 Corridor of the East End of the Borough.  A strong emphasis is placed on the subject land for a purposeful reuse stimulating reinvestment.

Interested development parties should contact Shelby Michalek at 724-830-3085 or smichale@co.westmoreland.pa.us for more information. 
 

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Two Mt. Pleasant properties on Main Street
The RACW in partnership with the WCLB will soon begin a large blight removal positioning the land for redevelopment in the Borough of Mount Pleasant.  
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