Westmoreland Development Council Newsletter
Seal of Westmoreland County

Community Development 


Community Development Block Grant Program 

The Community Development Division submitted its Fiscal Year 2019 Annual Action Plan to HUD for review and approval. Twenty-one CDBG projects totaling over $2.5 million have been submitted as part of the Plan. The various types of projects include public services, countywide demolition, and emergency rehabilitation, as well as infrastructure improvements including street reconstruction, stormwater facilities, and sanitary sewer facilities.

The municipalities and non-profit agencies that were incorporated in the plan will be notified by the Community Development Division once funding has been released by HUD.  Additionally, proposals for CDBG funds in Fiscal Year 2020 are now being accepted through the end of September 2019. The staff of the Community Development Division will evaluate the proposals, conduct site inspections, and make recommendations to the Westmoreland County Commissioners for next year’s Annual Action Plan.

This project supports Reimagining Our Westmoreland’s Strategy 5.1, Eliminate Blight. 

Mammoth Park Rehabilitation Project 

In July, the rehabilitation of Mammoth Park Giant Slide Project began. The project includes the renovation and replacement of the Giant Slide, a new playground to be constructed between Pavilions 5 and 6, the renovation of the tennis and street hockey courts and the installation of a 9-hole disc golf course.

Over $125,000 of CDBG funds have been committed to this project.  Funds will be used for ADA improvements near the project area, including ADA accessible walkways, parking accommodations and playground facilities. The new Mammoth Park Giant Slide complex is expected to be completed by November 2019.

This project supports Reimagining Our Westmoreland’s Strategy 4.2, Make Parks Welcoming & Accessible.

Artist's rendering of the finished Giant Slide in Mammoth Park
An artist's rendering of the proposed new Giant Slide Project at Mammoth Park. The complex is expected to be completed by November of this year.
Economic Growth Connection Logo

EGC Expands Team
 
The Economic Growth Connection (EGC) welcomed two new members to their team this summer with the hiring of two young professionals, Kyle Martin and Anthony Princeton.

Kyle Martin, taking over as EGC’s business development officer, is a Michigan native who has lived and worked in Westmoreland County for the past four years. Kyle is excited to bring a fresh perspective to business development within the county. Outside of the office, Martin can be found instructing students at PSKA Karate, a small business owned by his fiancé.

Anthony Princeton, A Westmoreland County native, has been brought on by EGC as the coordinator of the Westmoreland County Forum for Workforce Development. Before coming to EGC, Princeton worked for the Greater Latrobe School District as mentorship coordinator, assisting in their career pathways education and securing work-based learning opportunities for students. Outside of the office, you can find Anthony assisting with the Penn-Trafford High School Marching Band and Concert Percussion Ensemble as a member of their instructional staffs.

Both Martin and Princeton are looking forward to doing their part to ensure the economic development of Westmoreland County, working together to address the financial and staffing needs of businesses county-wide.

EGC Assists Local Company to Finance Expansion

EGC assisted local company Product Evaluation Systems, Inc. (PES) in financing a 12,500 SF expansion to their current facility in Latrobe through the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) program, creating 8-10 new employment opportunities within the county.

This effort supports Reimagining Our Westmoreland’s Strategy 1.3, Assist Small Businesses.

Forum For Workforce Development

The Westmoreland County Forum for Workforce Development is currently coordinating an event that will impact 800 8th graders within Westmoreland, Armstrong and Fayette Counties. On October 11th and 25th, the Forum will be holding events called 8th Grade Career Camps in the Science Hall of Westmoreland College’s Youngwood Campus. Eleven regional employers will be facilitating hands-on activities that expose the students to high priority occupations within the county and region.  

This effort supports Reimagining Our Westmoreland’s Strategy 1.1, Champion Skilled Labor.

Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corporation

Industrial Development Corporation


27 Acres under Agreement at Westmoreland Technology Park II

In June, Al. Neyer, LLC signed an option agreement with WCIDC to purchase Lot 13, a 13-acre site at Westmoreland Technology Park II in Mt. Pleasant. Al. Neyer intends to use the pad-ready site for the construction of an approximate 150,000 SF flex industrial/warehouse building. The building is anticipated for office, warehousing and/or light manufacturing uses and will be designed to house more than 150 employees. The flex building will provide unique solutions for users looking for modern Class-A spaces with a smaller footprint than the larger buildings Al. Neyer has planned for Commerce Crossing at Westmoreland.

Also in June, Pressure Chemical Company signed an option agreement for Lot 16 at Westmoreland Technology Park II. Pressure Chemical Company intends to purchase the 14-acre site for the construction of a separate facility that will support its current operation in Allegheny County.    

These efforts support Reimagining Our Westmoreland’s Strategy 1.6, Provide Development Ready Sites.

Mount Pleasant Glass Centre Reaches Full Occupancy

In July, WCIDC approved a lease agreement with Life’s a Beach USA, LLC, for 1,400 SF of space located at Mount Pleasant Glass Centre in Mt. Pleasant Township. With Life’s a Beach taking occupancy in Building 500, the last remaining available space in the center is now full. The approximately 156,000 SF industrial and commercial complex currently houses six other tenants including Rolf Glass, WATT Fuel Cell, Lenox, and EAP Innovations. The agreement makes Mount Pleasant Glass Centre the eighth WCIDC development to be sold or leased to capacity.

Company Spotlight: Tronix3D


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.

3D printing has revolutionized manufacturing over the last few years. Instead of printing with ink like traditional printers, it prints layers of powdered nylon to create a tangible 3D object. Local company, Tronix3D is helping to make the innovation accessible to the greater Pittsburgh area. Read the Tronix3D Company Spotlight here.

This effort supports Reimagining Our Westmoreland’s Strategy 6.2, Integrate New Technologies.

Reimagining Our Westmoreland

Planning Division


Sub-County, Regional Plan Process Begins

In June, Westmoreland County Planners met with the local government consultant, Susan Hockenberry, to initiate the Planning District process in the Alle-Kiski region. This concept, generated from the county’s comprehensive plan: Reimagining Our Westmoreland, will ultimately result in the creation of seven sub-county, regional plans.

Implementing the strategies and actions identified in the county’s comprehensive plan requires further partnerships and participation at the local level. By using logical groupings through the Planning Districts process in transportation, geography, economy and culture, local officials are better supported and more empowered to accomplish their goals.

The Planning District process encourages municipal officials within the 11 municipalities in the Alle-Kiski Planning District to work together and look beyond municipal boundaries to identify assets, opportunities, and challenges.

Municipal officials in the Alle-Kiski Planning District which includes Allegheny Township, Arnold City, East Vandergrift, Borough, Hyde Park Borough, Lower Burrell, City, New Kensington City, Oklahoma Borough, Upper Burrell Township, Vandergrift Borough, Washington Township, and West Leechburg Borough, met for the second time in late July to continue the conversation on reimagining a shared future.

This project supports Reimagining Our Westmoreland’s Strategy 5.6, Address Fragmentation.

 
Planning Districts
In June, the Planning District process began in the Alle-Kiski region.

Reimagining Our Westmoreland Adopted, Champions Identified

In December of last year, County Commissioners adopted Reimagining Our Westmoreland, the county’s new comprehensive plan. The overarching goal of the plan is to enact strategies that will attract, develop, and retain a diverse and stable workforce that will sustain a healthy economy. In the spring, members of the Reimagining Our Westmoreland comprehensive plan advisory committee met to identify strategy champions and partners to take leadership in implementing aspects of the comprehensive plan. 

In addition, the Planning Department has received nearly 40 Resolutions of Support from businesses, nonprofits, and local municipalities who have committed to support implementation of the plan. The next step in this process is to continue to reach out and connect strategy champions and partners with expertise and resources to implement aspects of the comprehensive plan. 

If you are an individual or organization who would like to assist in implementing any of the strategies or actions laid out in the plan, please contact us at wcplanning@co.westmoreland.pa.us

 
Reimagining our Westmoreland Logo

Ligonier Diamond Park to be Designated a Great Public Space


Each year, the American Planning Association’s Pennsylvania Chapter invites applicants to nominate a Great Public Space for the Great Places in Pennsylvania Award. Great Places are unique, memorable places that work not only for their community, but also as a model that others want to emulate. They are places of exemplary character, quality, planning, identity, cultural interest, and community involvement with a sustainable vision for tomorrow.

In May, the County Planning Department, in consultation with Ligonier Borough, submitted an application nominating Ligonier Diamond Park as a Great Public Space for the 2019 Great Places in Pennsylvania Award. Ligonier Diamond Park, established in 1894, serves as a destination and popular gathering place for residents and visitors year-round. With its unique characteristics, connection to the downtown area, and opportunities for social interaction, this historic park is definitely one of Westmoreland County’s treasures worth celebrating.

In late July, the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association announced that Ligonier Diamond Park will be named one of the 2019 Great Places! The borough is expected to be officially designated a Great Public Place in early September. 

This effort supports Reimagining Our Westmoreland’s Strategy 2.1, Create & Promote a County Brand.

Diamond Grand Opening
Grand opening celebration of Diamond Park in 2018.

TRAMS 


The Technical Resources and Municipal Services (TRAMS) Program, is a program designed to connect county planners with local municipalities, providing professional planning services and resources, driving implementation of the county’s comprehensive plan. Through this effort, communities gain needed technical support and become better prepared to pilot their future. The following projects are being completed through the TRAMS Program. 

TRAMS

Monessen Blight Inventory and Mapping Completed 


In July, county planners completed the final draft of an online-based blight map for the city of Monessen. The map, created by the County Planning Department in conjunction with MGR Consulting and Mackin Engineering, provides a comprehensive inventory of blight and the patterns that surround these properties. This map inventory, which stemmed from the Monessen comprehensive planning processes, will help the city make informed decisions to address blight moving forward. 

This project supports Reimagining Our Westmoreland’s Strategy 5.1, Eliminate Blight.

Youngwood Hybrid Zoning Ordinance 

One of the ways Youngwood Borough is working to implement strategies in their comprehensive plan is through the creation of a hybrid zoning ordinance. This type of ordinance focuses attention on building placement, scale and design. While incorporating traditional elements, this hybrid ordinance aims to pay special attention to the relationship that buildings and public spaces have with the street.  

Zoning Committee members composed of Youngwood Borough Council members, business owners, and residents have been meeting since the beginning of April to vet this process. County planners and Zoning Committee members will continue to meet to create an ordinance that supports the community’s vision, steering land use and development to meet the needs of its residents and business owners. 
   

This project supports Reimagining Our Westmoreland’s Strategy 3.4, Utilize Planning Best Practices.

Laurel Valley Transportation Improvement Project

Laurel Valley Transportation Improvement Project


PennDOT, in partnership with Westmoreland County, FHWA and a consultant team, is finalizing the Preliminary Engineering (PE) phase of Section 1: Route 819 to Norvelt of the Laurel Valley Transportation Improvement Project (LVTIP). The team anticipates completing the environmental studies and receiving Environmental Clearance during the Winter of 2019. Once Environmental Clearance is obtained, the design team will hold a public meeting to present the preliminary plans.

After environmental clearance is received, the project will move into the Final Design phase, where the Right-of-Way acquisition, application and acquisition of environmental permits, utility clearance, and the final roadway construction plans will be completed. All geotechnical core borings to test the soil are complete and other field work in the area is beginning to wrap up. Identification of underground utilities is ongoing to ensure the project team knows the locations of any pipes, tanks, electrical lines, etc. so that we may coordinate any needed relocations prior to or during construction.

For more information about the LVTIP or to ask the PennDOT Project Team specific questions about the project, please visit the project website at www.laurelvalleyproject.com.

This project supports Reimagining Our Westmoreland’s Strategy 7.2, Create Mobility Plans.

Redevelopment Authority of the County of Westmoreland and Westmoreland County Land Bank

Westmoreland County Land Bank Sells Jeannette Rt. 30 Site to Local Developer 

The Westmoreland County Land Bank has sold former Monsour Medical site to Colony Holding Companies for the development of ‘Jayhawk Commons.' The purchase includes a $2.1 million acquisition for the creation of an in-line retail strip center. Suites will consist of mixed use commercial and retail space on the 6.4-acre lot. Colony Holding Companies has been headquartered in Westmoreland County for 70 years, starting their commercial development division in 1970.

 
In coordination with the Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corporation, Westmoreland County Commissioners, and Senator Kim Ward amongst other partnerships, this sale consummates the multi-year task of the Westmoreland County Land Bank to rid the blight of the former Monsour Medical Center. After gaining ownership of the property, The WCLB worked with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation to release their $3.2 million federal lien on the site. An additional $4.7 million IRS lien associated with the property had to be exonerated to allow for the demolition and remarketing of the site to take place. The Land Bank and Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corporation worked in coordination to leverage a combination of county, state and federal funds to get the site to its current condition.


Downtown Mt. Pleasant Site Ready for Development

29 Main Street, Mt.Pleasant
Suggested Minimum Bid: $30,000

After the Land Bank acquired the vacant hotel located at 29 W Main Street, the property was demolished, clearing the site for a new reuse. The corner lot is situated centrally in East End area of Mt. Pleasant, bordered by a successful restaurant district and in close proximity to the Coal & Coke bike trail, a prime location for new business development.

Find more information on the data sheet found here.

These efforts support Reimagining Our Westmoreland’s Strategies 5.1, Eliminate Blight and 1.6, Provide Development Ready Sites.

29 W Main Street
Interested buyers please contact Shelby Michalek, Marketing Coordinator directly at
 724-830-3085 or smichale@co.westmoreland.pa.us

Redevelopment Authority Receives $100,000 for Accessible Housing Program

The Redevelopment Authority of the County of Westmoreland (RACW), in partnership with Westmoreland County Land Bank (WCLB), has been awarded a $100,000 grant through the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund. The Accessible Housing Program is an initiative focused on low-to-moderate income residents within Westmoreland County. The Program has two major components - the rehabilitation of once blighted structures for single-family occupancy, and installing accessibility modifications in residences of the permanently physically disabled.
 
The majority of the monies will be dedicated to the Homeownership Program, an already active and successful initiative within the Accessible Housing Program due to previous funding from multiple sources, including PHARE, Act 137 and PHARE RTT. To date, eight total properties have been rehabilitated in Land Bank communities, with 1-2 more anticipated with the awarded funds. All renovations have increased adjacent property values and stabilized the neighborhood from further neglect. The RACW will allocate the remaining Accessible Housing funds towards installing home modifications for permanently disabled individuals who earn less than 50 percent of the area’s median income. This program will continue to be essential to our communities, already completing 45 modifications from previous PHARE monies leveraged with county funding. Applicants can apply for either a ramp or stair lift to assist with mobility freedom, keeping these individuals in their homes.
 
The governor named 211 housing and community development initiatives in 67 counties that will share a portion of the total $51.2 million in PHARE funding for fiscal year 2018-19.“A major advantage of the PHARE program is that the decisions on how the funding should be spent are driven locally,” said Governor Wolf. “Local municipalities determine how the funding can best preserve and expand the availability of affordable housing, and then they apply to PHARE to meet those needs. It’s a system that works”.
 
A focus of the Redevelopment Authority of the County of Westmoreland is to implement programs that improve conditions for low-to-moderate-income residents throughout Westmoreland County, this granted funding will help achieve that goal.

This program supports Reimagining Our Westmoreland’s Strategy 5.4, Bolster Age-Friendly Communities & Services. 

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