Westmoreland Development Council Newsletter
Seal of Westmoreland County

Community Development

Community Development Block Grant Program 
The Community Development Division notified fifteen municipalities in the county that they can award construction contracts for infrastructure projects funded under the FY 2017 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program. These projects include street reconstruction, storm water facilities, sidewalk reconstruction and handicapped accessibility improvements. View a complete list here.

Historic Eisenbergs Department Store Reconstructed as Apartment Complex
In September, under the HOME Program, as well as the county and state grant funds, rehabilitation was completed on the former Eisenbergs Department Store building in the City of Monessen. Thirteen affordable housing apartments were constructed with twelve units available to low and moderate-income households.   Mon Valley Initiative the nonprofit developer and owner of the complex, received their occupancy permit in October. Currently, two apartments are rented, and three are in the process. NDC Real Estate Management Inc., Pittsburgh, is the property management company.

Eisenberg Apartment Complex
The historic former Eisenbergs Department Store in the City of Monessen is reconstructed as an affordable housing apartment complex.
Economic Growth Connection of Westmoreland Logo

Economic Growth Connection

PIDA Financing  
The Economic Growth Connection of Westmoreland (EGC) reports that loan activity has been brisk this fall.  Many of our local companies are experiencing strong growth and the lower interest rates announced by the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) over the summer has helped drive business.

Two business, Xodus Medical Corporation, and Fayette Parts Service Inc., have secured PIDA financing to support business expansion. Xodus Medical obtained financing to build an additional 35,000 sqft state of the art warehouse to support the company’s tremendous growth in the WCIDC’s Business and Research Park in Upper Burrell Township. Fayette Parts Service Inc. (FPS) used the financing to support the purchase of a 36,000 sqft building on a 7.3-acre parcel, located on Findley Road in Belle Vernon.  FPS operates 29 NAPA Auto Parts stores in SW PA and this facility allows them to centralize warehousing and administration operations within Westmoreland County.

Fayette Parts Service Inc.
Fayette Parts Service used PIDA financing to support the purchase of a 36,000 sqft building in Belle Vernon.

New Financing Programs in the New Year
The EGC is working with several other businesses within the county to secure financing for both facility expansion and equipment needs by year end. EGC is anticipating continued business growth into the first quarter of 2018 and is poised to assist Westmoreland County businesses with financing or technical assistance. They are also working on establishing new financing programs for the new year. Please call EGC at (724) 830-3604 for more details.

Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corporation Logo

Industrial Development Corporation

Entrepreneurial Center Opens 
On December 6, the Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corporation in partnership with Penn State New Kensington (PSNK) opened the doors to The Corner, an entrepreneurial center located in downtown New Kensington. PSNK will lease the 4,725-square-foot location that the WCIDC purchased from Swank Young Developers earlier in the year. The Corner will provide access to the Corner Launchbox entrepreneurial programming, as well as active, membership-driven co-working space, operated by Pittsburgh’s Beauty Shoppe. The WCIDC envisioned this unique project as an opportunity to invest in downtown New Kensington with the goal of spurring additional investment in the community and along the “Corridor of Innovation.” Read more about the grand opening here

The Corner in New Kensington
The Corner entrepreneurial center opens along the Corridor of Innovation in New Kensington.

Redevelopment Efforts Continue in the City of Jeannette
In September, the WCIDC Board of Directors accepted a proposal from Colony Holding Companies for the development of the Jeannette Route 30 Redevelopment Project. The Westmoreland County Land Bank, who owns the property, has now entered into formal agreement of sale for the 6.4-acre parcel. Colony is planning to develop “Jayhawk Commons,” a mix of commercial and retail space.
 
At the Jeannette Glass Site, environmental assessment, hazardous site cleanup, and site-wide demolition have been completed. As of December 1, the site preparation phase is now underway. This phase includes slab, footer & foundation removal, concrete crushing, and site grading including the placement of a soil cap. All work at the 13-acre site will be completed by June 30, 2018.

WCIDC Purchases Greenforge Building
At the end of June, the WCIDC purchased the GreenForge Building from GreenForge Inc. The 23,000-square-foot office building located on Donohoe Road in Hempfield Township is equipped with special conservation features such as geothermal heating and cooling, and a 3,600-watt solar array produces about 7,000 watts of power a day. Currently, the building houses five tenants and 75 employees. 

 
GreenForge Building
The 23,000-square-foot GreenForge building is located in Hempfield Township.
Tucker Auto-Mation Logo

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 Tucker Auto-Mation. Tucker recently moved to Westmoreland Industrial Park IV, and they are literally opening the door to “SMART” door technology. Read all about Tucker’s innovative strategies for manual and automatic door solutions in the company spotlight here.

Exterior of Tucker Auto-Mation
Tucker Auto-Mation is located in WCIDC's Westmoreland Industrial Park IV.
Reimagining Our Westmoreland Logo

Planning Division 

Comprehensive Plan Update
Reimagining Our Westmoreland has recently completed many important milestones, including the completion of the plan’s outline.  Currently, the planning staff and our consultant, Houseal Lavigne Associates, are formulating a strategy to form a number of focus groups to create actions and strategies for the comprehensive plan. These groups will be comprised of experts from throughout the region and will be designed so that each group’s members will be able to concentrate on their area of expertise. 

Lastly, the concept of seven regional “Planning Districts” is being incorporated in the comprehensive plan. These districts will each include a number of municipalities, and will allow for more regional based decisions to be made that incorporate planning best practices. Meetings will be held in each of the planning districts after the draft plan is completed to help guide implementation of the comprehensive plan. 
The comprehensive plan is expected to be completed in the second half of 2018. To learn more, visit the Reimagining Our Westmoreland  website or Facebook page.

Technical Resources and Municipal Services Program (TRAMS) Activity
The county planning staff, through the TRAMS program, has been able to provide a number of municipalities with professional planning services. The planning staff will be working with Youngwood Borough on a land use and blight inventory in conjunction with a corridor plan for Route 119 as part of a redevelopment project by PennDOT. 

In South Greensburg Borough, the planning staff will help the borough develop a new comprehensive plan; work is expected to begin in the second half of 2018. 

The county planning staff has also maintained their relationship with the City of Jeannette, providing ongoing professional assistance for their Planning Commission and in the implementation of their comprehensive plan.

Laurel Valley Transportation Improvement Project
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Engineering District 12 is advancing the design of Section 1 of the Laurel Valley Transportation Improvement Project (LVTIP), located in Mount Pleasant Township. PennDOT completed the Feasibility Study for the project in August 2017. The study phase identified three sections within the project area for advancement through preliminary engineering, final design, and construction. Section 1: Route 819 to Norvelt is currently in the preliminary engineering phase.  During this phase, engineering details and potential impacts are being further refined based on more detailed engineering and stakeholder input. The refined alternative will then be advanced to final design and ultimately construction. Recently, Westmoreland County in cooperation with the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC) and PennDOT, submitted a TIGER Grant application to the USDOT for Section 1. Final Design for the project is anticipated to start in 2018 with opening of bids for construction in 2020.  

The remaining sections identified in the LVTIP study are generally defined as Section 2: Norvelt to Route 130 and Section 3: Route 130 to south of the Arnold Palmer Airport.  The preliminary design of these sections has not yet started. 

For more information about the LVTIP, please visit the project website. 

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Laurel Valley Transportation Improvement Project
RACW and Land Bank Logo

Jeannette Volunteer Day Success
On November 17, the Westmoreland County Land Bank (WCLB) held a volunteer day for improvements at one of its properties located at 810 Cowan Avenue in Jeannette. This home is part of the WCLB’s Home Ownership Program, which appeals to low to moderate income residents around the county. All the materials used to make the cosmetic improvements were kindly donated by local businesses. Along with the supplies, local volunteers showed up to join the effort. Students from Jeannette City High school, University of Pitt Greensburg, and neighboring church community members contributed to the cause. 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 $30,000.

 
Cowan Avenue Home
Cowan Avenue Home

Accessible Housing Program
The Redevelopment Authority of the County of Westmoreland (RACW) recently completed the first modification for its Home Ownership Program.  The program assists those who are permanently physically disabled by installing either a ramp or stair lift for their mobility. The modifications are possible due to a $175,000 grant through the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund to rehabilitate single-family homes for low-income families.  By leveraging the grant with county funding, the Authority plans to assist multiple households throughout Westmoreland County. This program saw its first results after a stair lift was installed in November, the first in a line of many to help physically disabled residents maneuver through their homes. 

Countywide Demolition Services
The RACW is an advocate for downtown and neighborhood initiatives in Westmoreland County and is active in a variety of strategic partnerships to promote community revitalization and reinvestment in central business districts and residential neighborhoods. The primary objective of Westmoreland County’s demolition program, administered by the RACW, is to reenergize county neighborhoods through blight elimination while enhancing the health, safety and general welfare of the community. A strong emphasis is placed on the subject land for a purposeful reuse stimulating reinvestment. This calendar year alone, the RACW initiated twenty-seven slum and blight clearance projects, including the Mary Street Redevelopment in the City of Latrobe. The goal is to demolish the twelve vacant structures to make way for a new affordable housing neighborhood development. 

 
Mary Street Latrobe
Mary Street Redevelopment in the City of Latrobe
Seasons Greetings
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