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Brewster: Local Communities to Receive More Than $1.3 Million to Fight Blight

HARRISBURG, May 25, 2021 – Local projects aimed at remediating blight and revitalizing local communities were awarded more than $1.3 million in state grant money today, state Sen. Jim Brewster announced.

Brewster, a former mayor of McKeesport who held a virtual public hearing in March on improving Pennsylvania’s blight remediation efforts, said the grants will help local communities fund their local efforts and stabilize neighborhoods.

The grants were approved today by the Commonwealth Financing Authority as part or their Blight Remediation Program.

“Run-down and abandoned buildings hamper local efforts to attract new residents and businesses and grow the tax base,” Brewster said. “These grants are important investments in communities that will pay dividends in the years to come.”

Among the leading beneficiaries is the City of Arnold, which was approved for a $300,000 grant to demolish 27 blighted properties as part of its Blight Remediation Plan. The money will go toward acquisition, demolition and administrative costs. Arnold has the highest building vacancy rate in Westmoreland County. The Westmoreland County Land Bank will also receive $300,000 for its overall blight remediation efforts.

The Redevelopment Authority of the City of New Kensington was approved for a $298,000 grant to rehabilitate the iconic Dattola Theater which has been closed for more than 35 years. The project will replace the roof, abate asbestos and restore structural stability to the building that local officials hope will serve as a catalyst for future “Main Street” development in the city.

The City of McKeesport will also receive nearly $300,000 to restore and rebuild properties along 5th Avenue and Shaw Avenue in the city.

Also receiving funds:

  • Borough of Dravosburg – $20,000 to demolish two blighted and unsafe residential buildings.

  • Borough of Wilmerding – $30,000 to demolish 10 abandoned buildings.

  • Tri-COG Land Bank – $190,000 to demolish two buildings and renovate four others in six different municipalities.

  • Steel Rivers Council of Governments – $30,000 to demolish 12 properties in the boroughs of Glassport and Versailles.

  • Borough of Liberty – $45,000 to demolish an abandoned and unsafe school building and turn the land over for recreation.

  • Borough of Elizabeth – $68,310 to demolish four abandoned buildings to pave the way for future construction.

  • Borough of East Pittsburgh – $25,000 to plan for remediation of as many as 80 properties as part of a comprehensive blight plan.

For more details on other projects in the 45th District that will see state investment, click here.

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