LEHIGH VALLEY, PA – The Lehigh Valley Arts Council is presenting 3 complimentary workshops in Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties in effort to support applicants in the planning stages of the 2016-2017 Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA) Project Stream grant application process.
“The PPA Project Stream is a critical source of state and federal funding for eligible individuals, community groups and nonprofit organizations interested in conducting arts projects with a clear public component,” stated Randall Forte, Executive Director of Lehigh Valley Arts Council. “As our region’s partner, we have accepted as many as 60 requests in any given year, awarding grants to community projects including, but not limited to exhibitions, films and performances that impact a wide range of constituents from young children to senior citizens, regardless of ability, ethnicity, culture or socioeconomic status.”
The keys to successfully navigating the Project Stream application process lie in a deeper understanding of content, format and fiscal expectations set forth by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. By attending one of the following workshops, applicants will gain a thorough understanding of review criteria, suggestions for constructing compelling and comprehensive narratives and guidance in building detailed project budgets.
Applicants are encouraged to RSVP and attend one of the following workshops:
May 10, 2016 | 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Lehigh Valley Arts Council; 840 Hamilton Street, Allentown, PA
May 12, 2016 | 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Anita Shapolsky Art Foundation; 20 West Broadway, Jim Thorpe, PA
May 24, 2016 | 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Touchstone Theatre; 321 E. Fourth Street, Bethlehem, PA
More than 300 groups from across the state are lining up to get a piece of the $125 million available for Pennsylvania redevelopment projects.
Those requesting funding include the Luzerne County Convention Center Authority, which wants to upgrade Mohegan Sun Arena.
The competition is stiff in this recently streamlined state program — called the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program — with funding requests totaling 10 times the available grant money.
Gov. Tom Wolf will decide which projects receive grants in the fall.
One of the final pieces to fully connect the York County Heritage Rail Trail will officially open with pomp and circumstance Wednesday.
The newly constructed 2.5-mile section of the rail trail just north of York City will connect with the trail’s northern extension and all but connects with the trail’s southern portion.
The new section runs from the intersection of Route 30 and Loucks Mill Road in Springettsbury Township north along the east side of the Codorus Creek to Emig Road in Manchester Township.
Gwen Loose, executive director of the rail trail authority, did a final walk-through of a new trail bridge at Emig Road that ties the new section to the northern extension and was met by people already traversing the trail.
To John Kromer the city’s persistent poverty is best tackled at the neighborhood level. In a four-part series of commentaries Kromer, an urban housing and development consultant and former city housing director, will explore different policy interventions the next administration can deploy to reduce poverty, stabilize neighborhoods, and finance anti-blight work. Kromer lays the foundation with this first installment:
Mayoral and City Council candidates rarely have to take strong positions on neighborhood issues because other topics, such as taxes, crime, schools, and drugs, are more likely to attract voter interest when presented in a citywide, rather than neighborhood-specific context. Given all the demands of a hectic campaign season, most candidates don’t bother to bring forward substantive proposals for improving the condition of Philadelphia neighborhoods until after the elections.
The lower-priority status of neighborhoods as a campaign issue is particularly unfortunate, because the city’s biggest problem—the persistently high level of poverty in Philadelphia—can only be solved at the neighborhood level.
Organizing a neighborhoods policy that can be effective in reducing poverty levels is doable but complicated. Doing so requires thinking about existing strengths and weaknesses and future opportunities in a new way and seeking to obtain political buy-in for a new approach immediately. Advocates for fundamental policy changes can’t afford to wait until after the inauguration ceremony, after the appointment of planning and development officials, and after the presentation of the new administration’s first budget. Anyone who’s serious about planning to significantly reduce poverty during the next city administration needs to begin now.
During a special meeting Friday, Hazleton City Council voted to override Mayor Joseph Yannuzzi’s veto of the council’s proposed budget and then adopted that spending plan for 2015.
It means there will be no property tax increase for city residents and it also means that council voted to allocate money for the city to hire part-time police officers.
All this happened — but not without confusion, hand wringing and much discussion.
The confusion started when council had to call Councilman Jeff Cusat in order for him to vote on agenda items. Cusat had a prior engagement and did not attend the meeting in person but did cast his votes via telephone.
Speaking to Westmoreland County Airport Authority members on Tuesday, state Sen. Kim Ward, R-Hempfield, recalled an event during which she ran into a representative of the Allegheny County Airport Authority, who said the region doesn’t have room for two major airports.
“I told him, ‘Go ahead and close down,’ ” she said, laughing.
She and her chief of staff, Rob Ritson, attended a meeting at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Unity because the authority wrote her office a letter in October requesting $5 million as a line item in the state transportation budget.
The authority wants the funding to aid a large-scale, $7 million project to expand the terminal building and a $15 million project to strengthen and widen the runway, said board member Don Rossi, finance committee chairman.
In 2006, Michael A. Fiore was talking with a police officer about a shooting — the kind that never happened in Altoona before big-city drug dealers came to town.
The officer said his department didn’t even have bulletproof vests to wear on raids, Mr. Fiore recounted Tuesday. “I said, ‘Go out and get eight of them, and send me the bill.’”
Over the course of a year, that act of generosity morphed into the creation of Operation Our Town, in which Blair County business leaders pledge $10,000 each year to fight drugs.
Last year the organization backed Altoona’s schools, after school programs, youth sports groups, mentoring for first-time mothers and construction of a playground, among other efforts.
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey officials were in Bethlehem last week to further discuss opening a local international rail port and local officials left the meeting feeling very hopeful.
“They’re very interested in the site, they’re very interested in the Lehigh Valley,” said Bethlehem Mayor Bob Donchez, who attended the Sept. 12 meeting with Port Authority officials at Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem.
Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. President and CEO Don Cunningham also said the Port Authority is very interested in opening an inland port in Bethlehem. He said the main unknown is whether the owner of the Bethlehem Intermodal rail yard can get funding to expand.
WILKES-BARRE, PA — Angela Marsicano and her daughter, Gina, know first-hand the benefits of the city’s Gateway Facade Improvement Program.
The two women live next door to each other and they took advantage of the program to improve the appearance of their Blackman Street homes. Angela lives at 246 Blackman St. and Gina is at 250 Blackman.
Gina had new stonework, front window, front door, porch rail, porch roof installed and aluminum siding painted.
Her mother had new windows installed, shutters, aconcrete foundation and porch steps put in.
Neighborhood Allies has named as its first president the nationally recognized innovator behind revitalization efforts in Youngstown, Ohio.
Presley Gillespie begins his work in mid-May with the nonprofit that established this year from the dissolution of the Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development.
Mr. Gillespie founded the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. five years ago. It was that city’s first such entity and it grew from a $200,000 start-up into a $3.1 million force behind housing rehabilitation and green enterprise, including the Iron Roots Urban Farm, a commercial enterprise on a solar-powered campus with a demonstration kitchen, job training workshops and a community loan fund for low- and moderate income home buyers.
A once-withering urban garden on Easton’s South Side grew hundreds of pounds of free produce for city residents last year.
The city hopes to build on its success by pursuing a $75,000 federal grant and then matching it with city funds to expand and improve the garden at the Easton Area Neighborhood Center.
The West Ward Neighborhood Partnershiptook over the troubled garden in 2012 and last year, volunteers helped harvest more than 1,400 pounds of vegetables that were donated to Easton residents.
Initial plans call for expanding the farmable land, installing new garden-themed playground equipment, improving the watering system and erecting a fence.
The Lehigh Valley Arts Council invites you to apply for up to $2,500 from the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts Project Stream to fund arts projects or activities benefiting the communities of Carbon, Lehigh and Northampton counties. Anyone interested in applying is encouraged to join us for one of our free PPA grant workshops.
May 6th, 4 PM to 5:30 PM: Lehigh Valley Arts Council (Allentown)
May 8th, 4 PM to 5:30 PM: Sigal Museum (Easton)
Mark your Calendar! The PPA deadline for Project Stream Applications is June 20th, 2014!
Click here for more information: http://lvartscouncil.org/programs/workshops.html
POTTSTOWN, PA — Borough property owners would be off the hook for generating more than $5 million in school funding this year if the state funding formula abandoned by Gov. Tom Corbett in 2010 were still in place, according to a report.
Further, as a result of that formula’s absence in calculating state education funding, Pottstown has lost more state aid in the past few years than almost any other district in Montgomery County, the report found.
At $2.5 million, only Norristown schools lost more in the last three years than the $1.5 million in state funding Pottstown has lost since 2010-11, the study found.
In an attempt to reverse the problems highlighted in that study, the Pottstown School Board on Monday unanimously adopted a resolution calling on Harrisburg to establish “a fair and equitable school funding formula.”
LOWER POTTSGROVE TOWNSHIP, PA — The township commissioners’ decision to reconsider its 2014 funding for the Pottstown Regional Public Library has resulted in a swelling of support for the library and a number of efforts to keep the funding intact.
Earlier this month when the Board of Commissioners reorganized, the new majority announced its intention to open up the 2014 budget adopted one month earlier and reduce funding to the Pottstown Regional Public Library on High Street.
Paradoxically, in December, Lower Pottsgrove had joined with both Upper Pottsgrove and Pottstown borough in increasing the allocation to the library for 2014.
In Lower Pottsgrove’s case, the commissioners had agreed in December to increase the annual allocation by $5,000 — up to $65,000.
POTTSTOWN PA – Can residents in the Lower Pottsgrove portion of the Pottsgrove School District do what they proved capable of five years ago this month: rescue the Pottstown Regional Public Library by encouraging the township Board of Commissioners to restore proposed funding cuts? The school board’s leader is hoping for it.
The library may literally be banking on it.
A majority of commissioners announced last Monday (Jan. 6, 2014), during their reorganization meeting, that they intended to conduct a Feb. 3 (Monday) hearing in part to consider cutting $10,000 in library funding from the township’s already approved 2014 budget. The library had been allocated to receive a $5,000 increase in Lower Pottsgrove’s contribution, from $60,000 annually in each of the past five years, to $65,000 this year.
The majority last week instead suggested it wants to now lower the donation to $55,000, eliminating the increase and another $5,000 as well. Those commissioners – board President Bruce Foltz, Vice President Stephen Klotz, and new member Shawn Watson – have indicated they would prefer to put more money into the police department and other priorities.
The state’s $2.4 billion transportation funding law will enable the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to use its Rapid Bridge Replacement Project on at least 200 more bridges than originally planned.
The project that will reconstruct at least 500 structurally deficient bridges of similar design across the state involves PennDOT reaching out to the private sector to submit statements of qualification.
Erin Waters, a PennDOT spokeswoman, said those interested in bidding must submit their statements of qualifications to the agency by Jan.31.
Backers of a proposed Bus Rapid Transit corridor connecting Downtown Pittsburgh and Oakland have adopted an ambitious timetable to advance the project.
Wendy Stern, Port Authority assistant general manager for planning and development, told a board committee recently that project supporters hope to apply for federal funding next fall. That would require completion of preliminary engineering and environmental review before then, and securing all of the non-federal funding needed for construction.
That would keep the project on track for a start of service in 2017.
A preliminary estimate of the overall cost is $200 million and the project would have to prevail in a highly competitive federal grant program to move ahead, Ms. Stern said. A federal grant likely would cover only 50 percent of the cost.
Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2013/12/02/Port-Authority-pushes-Downtown-Oakland-rapid-yyy-Downtown-to-Oakland-rapid-bus-route-urged/stories/201312020059#ixzz2mL8hxINw
Billions in new taxes and spending for roads, bridges and mass transit in Pennsylvania comfortably cleared a final legislative hurdle Thursday with a bipartisan vote to send a long-stalled bill to the governor.
The state House voted 113-85 to tax gasoline and raise motorist fees over five years to generate at least $2.3 billion in annual additional funding.
Gov. Tom Corbett said in brief remarks at an appearance with a few dozen legislators that he perceived an urgent need to address transportation infrastructure after taking office three years ago.
He said passage of the vote showed leadership and mentioned concerns about public safety several times.
POTTSTOWN, PA — With civic groups working to make Pottstown “the place to be” for Halloween, it would be remiss not to mention the event that got it all started — the Halloween Parade.
As Halloween-parade lovers may recall, last year’s parade almost didn’t happen when it was revealed that the organizers did not have the fee waiver they thought they had from borough council.
Council eventually agreed to pay half the fee for police overtime services to $2,500, but it was a scramble to come up with the money.
Dick Frantz is the Pottstown Rotary Club’s point man on parade matters and he said the club, which co-sponsors the parade with the Pottstown AMBUCS, hopes to avoid that last minute scramble this year.