Revolutionizing Pennsylvania’s Industrial Sites: A $10.6M Step Forward

PA SITES (Pennsylvania Strategic Investments to Enhance Sites) pilot programCredit: Commonwealth Media Services

ALLENTOWN, PA — Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro and Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Rick Siger have announced more than $10.6 million in grants through the PA SITES pilot program. The program aims to render various locations across the Keystone State ‘shovel-ready,’ a term meaning the sites are primed for businesses’ immediate use.

This significant move, declared in Allentown in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, ensures over $1.1 million for the Allentown Commercial and Industrial Development Authority. The funds will facilitate water, sewer, and natural gas extensions from Allentown’s existing city infrastructure to a proposed site roughly half a mile away.

This initiative results from Pennsylvania’s newly announced economic development strategy—the first in almost two decades. “Last year, we launched a pilot program for site development through DCED, asked for applications, and made $10 million in grants available for developers and companies to begin that process. These sites are key to growing our economy, creating more jobs and thriving communities, and helping Pennsylvania compete – and win,” explained Governor Shapiro.

Last year, Governor Shapiro and Secretary Siger invited top site selectors from across the U.S. to the Capitol. The feedback: Pennsylvania’s resources, strategic position, and skilled workforce were undeniable assets, but a scarcity of accessible sites hampered the growth of business in the state. This feedback precipitated the birth of the PA SITES initiative, which commenced applications in September 2023.

DCED Secretary Rick Siger added, “There is significant demand for this investment across every region of Pennsylvania, as we received 102 applications requesting more than $236 million in funding through this pilot program.”

READ:  New Executive Order Boosts Public Service Careers in Pennsylvania: What You Need to Know and Why it Matters

Allocations from the PA SITES pilot program extend far and wide across Pennsylvania, benefitting several counties like Allegheny, Bedford, Bucks, Indiana, Lehigh, Wayne, and Westmoreland. These counties will use the funds for a range of development activities, including earthwork, utility extensions, roadway construction, and environmental cleanup.

In contrast to neighboring states—Ohio, New York, and Virginia, who allocate more annual funding to site development incentives—Pennsylvania faces the challenge of lacking readily available sites to support companies’ significant expansions. To remedy this, Governor Shapiro procured $13 million in PA First funding, with $10.6 million being made available for the PA SITES pilot program.

The demand far outweighs the existing funding, solidifying the need for greater state investments for more competitive sites through improved transportation access, utility extensions, or the creation of pad-ready sites. Governor Shapiro’s proposed 2024-25 budget includes an ambitious $500 million in PA SITES funding to build on this progress.

In addition to the PA SITES funding, the Governor’s budget proposal also calls for a $25 million investment in the Main Street Matters program to support small businesses, a $20 million allocation to spur innovation, and $3.5 million to launch the Pennsylvania Regional Economic Competitiveness Challenge.

Pennsylvania’s industrious citizens are the crux of this drive, as Allentown Mayor Matt Tuerk remarked, “Governor Shapiro recognizes the central role that Allentown’s residents have played in the economic success story of the Lehigh Valley, and today’s announcement affirms the value of making smart investments in growing regions.”

This substantial investment is aimed to revitalize Pennsylvania’s economic future, creating optimal, shovel-ready sites for eager businesses, and putting Pennsylvania on the fast track to a prosperous, vibrant future.

READ:  Celebrating Innovation: Pennsylvania Students Spotlight Manufacturing Excellence

For the latest news on everything happening in Chester County and the surrounding area, be sure to follow MyChesCo on Google News and Microsoft Start.