More than $ 21 million has been invested in the city since 2020, and even more, says the state senator

Recent projects in the city have received a total of more than $ 21 million in government funding, and there is even more money, said State Sen. Judy Schwank.

“Sometimes I hear people say that Reading is not getting the funds he was supposed to receive,” Schwank told the city council on the committee of the entire meeting on Monday. “We get the funds we need to get and we can get more. There is such a potential. “

Schwank, a Democrat from Ruscombmanor, who represents the city and part of Berks County, updated the council on grant opportunities and recently funded public and private economic and community projects.

State investments in local projects from 2020 amount to 7.5 million The first energy stadium$ 5 million for University of Alvernia Collegtowne$ 2.25 million Medical Arts Building on North Fifth Street, $ 1.5 million Traxler’s Mansion / Elks House a building on South Fifth Street, $ 1.0 million for an enlarged and renovated building Albright College Library$ 1.5 million for landscaping of the street landscape of the 18th Chamber and $ 1.5 million per Western Gateway housing construction.

“First Energy Stadium is such a success story for the whole Commonwealth,” Schwank said.

Initially, the state’s commitment to the project should have been lower, she said, noting that Governor Tom Wolfe had increased the figure by $ 1 million after seeing co-operation between lawmakers, including state officials Mark Rosie and Manny Guzman Jr., who also represent a city in Harrisburg.

Schwank also updated the board on future grant opportunities.

Some annual grant streams are reopened for applications, while others will open later this year, she said.

This includes the Marcellus Heritage Foundation, established by Law 13 in 2012 to plan, acquire, develop, rehabilitate and repair green roads, recreational trails, open spaces and parks. Applications for grants of up to $ 250,000 with 15 percent local compliance will be accepted until the end of May, she said.

The Act 13 program also provides grants for volunteer and career firefighters, rescue and ambulance services in 40 counties where unconventional drilling of gas wells is permitted, and those counties bordering on permitted counties and responding to emergencies related to gas emergencies. wells.

Grants can be spent on the purchase of fire and other emergency equipment and payment for training in its use.

Although Berks has no Marcelus shale wells in the county, Schwank said the county and city still meet the requirements.

Other funding is available through the State Department of Social and Economic Development, PennDOT and other departments for a variety of projects, including flood mitigation, restoration and watershed protection.

Schwank said she knows the city has applied for a $ 1 million grant to build a police lab and training facility.

Estimated from 12 to 15 million dollars, the planned modern facility will be built on urban land in the town of Kumru.

The state also has several grants for nonprofits and joint projects between municipalities and nonprofits.

Some can help combat the recent outbreak of violence in Reading by providing guidance, training and recreation programs for young people, Schwank said.

“There is no single solution to the recent violence,” she said.

The five of the seven killings took place in the northwestern part of the city what has happened in the last five weeks.

City council member Don Reed, whose area covers the northwest, asked if there were any grants that could help the city build a police department, as required by Act 47.

The city has about 25% fewer officers than before the Act 47.

Reading has been part of the state program for cities in financial position since 2009 and is scheduled to come out of state control in July.

Schwank said she understands that the city is working with a head force that is facing big challenges and a growing population. She suggested the city authorities unite with the authorities of other cities or the state league of municipalities to advocate for more funding for the police by the state.

Council MP Marcia Goodman-Hienerschitz called on city administrations to be active in finding available government grants and planning urban projects accordingly.

Council President Jeffrey S. Waltman Sr. asked Schwank to support the state legislature, which would allow the city to continue to levy income tax of 0.3% on passengers.

The city has spent commuter tax revenues to fund capital projects, but will lose that ability if it comes out of Act 47 later this year.

“We are in a very good financial position,” he said, “but that could change very soon.”

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