Small communities are big winners in Revitalizing Westmoreland grants
$143,000 in grants catalyze neighborhood improvements
WESTMORELAND COUNTY, May 16, 2018 – A community-focused program that encourages new, creative ways to revitalize communities in Westmoreland County has made $143,000 in new grants to small communities. The grants will fund nine small-to-medium sized innovative, capital projects. To spur local investment in the projects, communities that receive Revitalizing Westmoreland grants must also raise additional dollars on their own to fully fund the projects.
The Revitalizing Westmoreland program, now in its fourth year, has awarded $591,000 dollars to date. The program is based at The Community Foundation of Westmoreland County (CFWC). Revitalizing Westmoreland grants, plus additional dollars raised by communities receiving grants, have led to investments of $1.6 million in improving Westmoreland County.
“All communities, regardless of size, deserve to be a place where people want to raise a family and have a real sense of hometown pride. The Revitalizing Westmoreland program has shown that small investments can yield big changes that bring neighbors together to create stronger communities,” said CFWC Executive Director Phil Koch.
For the past three years, CFWC has annually distributed about $150,000 in Revitalizing Westmoreland grants to the seven economically struggling communities of Arnold, Jeannette, Greensburg, Latrobe, Lower Burrell, Monessen and New Kensington.
In these seven cities, Revitalizing Westmoreland has acted as a catalyst, bringing people together to improve their community. After witnessing the impact that the Revitalizing Westmoreland grants had in these larger communities, CFWC opened this opportunity to all communities in Westmoreland County – big and small.
“It was very interesting to see who from these communities actually applied for the grants,” said Koch. “Our smaller communities don’t have full-time staff working on revitalization efforts, so many of the applications came from neighbors working together and informal community groups. They’re people who simply care about their community and decided to get together to try to improve it. That has always been part of our goal, so it was amazing to see that happening in these communities.”
This year’s Revitalizing Westmoreland Grantees are:
- Vandergrift Borough ($30,000): To the Westmoreland County Land Bank for the revitalization of Vandergrift through a greening and storm water management project. The project will target five formerly blighted property lots. This project will not only reduce blight in the community but also increase property values, attract new residents and act as a catalyst for the beautification of the Vandergrift community.
- Bolivar Borough ($25,000): To improve the accessibility to the river. The community will use the grant to establish a new kayak launch, install restrooms, create additional parking, and install lighting. These additions have the potential to encourage current residents to stay local while attracting visitors, business and homebuyers.
- Monessen’s National Road Heritage Corridor ($25,000): For the first phase of the Monessen 6th Street Beautification Project. The 6th Street Park, which connects the downtown business district to a residential neighborhood, will be made safer and more appealing with the grant money. The goal is to attract homebuyers and rebuild a sense of pride in the community.
- Delmont Borough ($15,000): to upgrade all electrical equipment at Shield’s Farm. Electrical upgrades will allow organizations to safely host larger events at the farm and attract new events and organizations to this popular community gathering place. Without the upgrades, Delmont would lose Shield’s Farm as its hub for community events.
- Irwin ($15,000): To the Lamp Theatre for lot development and diner renovation. The Lamp Theatre is a staple building in the Irwin community for its age and the business it brings to the community. This project will support the community’s business and economic development by attracting more business to the Lamp Theatre and surrounding establishments.
- North Belle Vernon ($15,000): To the North Belle Vernon Recreation Commission for the final rehabilitation of the North Belle Vernon Community Bank Park. The grant will be used to meet the recreational needs of individuals with disabilities in the community by installing a handicap accessible swing park and CrossFit to accommodate citizens.
- Smithton Borough ($8,065): For the beautification of downtown Smithton. The grant will be used to purchase planters, flowers, shrubs, hedges, and landscaping stones for downtown. Smithton has lost residents and business over the years, but revitalizing downtown will help them recover by stimulating economic growth and improving the sense of community.
- New Alexandria ($5,325): To the New Alexandria Lions Club for its Connecting Our Community project. The grant will be used to complete the pavilion at the new community park including picnic tables, gutters, and electrical components. This pavilion has the ability attract more visitors, bring in business and create more connections between community members.
- West Newton Borough ($5,000): For renovating the West Newton Public Library’s façade, creating a more visible, inviting appearance. West Newton has already undergone several renovation and beautification projects, and this project will get them one step closer to revitalization and increased growth.
Further information about the Revitalizing Westmoreland program may be found at: https://cfwestmoreland.org/revitalizing-westmoreland
The Community Foundation of Westmoreland County