Starpointe project tops list of approved LSA funding requests

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A flex building at Starpointe Business Park could be able to flex its muscles, thanks partly to the Washington County Local Share Account.


The local share review committee evaluated requests for funding for 73 projects across the county and recommended 38 of them. The $7.3 million in LSA funding comes from gambling revenues from The Meadows Racetrack & Casino.


The committee released the list of recipients, and the amount it recommended for each, Wednesday. The recommendations go to the county commissioners, who, if they approve them today, will send them to the state Department of Community and Economic Development. That final step usually takes six months before the funds are distributed.


The 73 requesting entities each got two minutes to plead their cases to the board Jan. 14 and 15. Applicants must raise from other sources at least as much money as they are seeking from the LSA, and those chosen may not get the LSA amount they had sought.


The 38 that were selected had lined up about $16.4 million in additional funding, making for a total of $23.7 million in new investments.


The commissioners got to review the board’s recommendations Tuesday. Diana Irey Vaughan, one of the three, doesn’t envision snags.


“I think the committee did a terrific job in reviewing the applicants,” she said Wednesday, after the commissioners’ agenda meeting. “I don’t anticipate the commissioners making any changes. Most likely, you’ll see the commissioners approve them.


“Basically, the projects that didn’t make it were for reasons of not being ready and the philosophy of funding.”


Fellow Commissioner Harlan Shober said, “It’s nice to know we have this issue to deal with,” noting counties without a casino lack this funding stream.


Flex Building 3 in Starpointe, Hanover Township, got the largest amount, $750,000 – all that the Washington County Council on Economic Development had requested. About $3.1 million in other funds have been leveraged for that project.


“We’re seeing a commitment continue for industrial parks so we can continue to create jobs in Washington County,” said Irey Vaughan.


WCCED Executive Director Dan Reitz served on the LSA panel but did not participate in the council’s funding request presentation.


Washington County Health Center, Chartiers Township, was recommended for all $211,000 that it had sought for electronic medical records. That request, made by Washington County, was accompanied by $313,000 in leverage funding.


Qualified welders are a hot commodity in a hotbed of oil and gas activity, and Penn Commercial was approved for $300,000 for its welding technology training program. The county’s largest postsecondary career and technical school had requested $420,943 and has $439,125 in leverage funds.


Penn Commercial is in Oak Springs Plaza, South Strabane Township. Curriculum director Nicole Lane said the school plans to purchase the former Checkers Cleaners space there for the welding program, which would be capable of producing 81 welding graduates a year.


The Region 13 SWAT Team got the $93,554 it had sought for new, lighter bulletproof vests and for its first set of protective facemasks. It had $43,8000 in other funding.


Washington Area Senior Citizens Center got the smallest financial recommendation – $1,700 – which it had requested, for an automatic door opener. It had $500 in leverage funding.


There were four categories of LSA fund recipients. Here is a breakdown of the four and the amounts involved:


• Community Improvement – total recommended funding, $2,059,300; total leverage, $7,929,223; total impact, $9,988,523.


• Economic Development – total recommended funding, $1,598,740; total leverage, $4,311,669; total impact, $5,910,409.


• Job Training – total recommended funding, $699,363; total leverage, $489,125; total impact, $1,188,488.


• Public Interest – total recommended funding, $2,967,392; total leverage, $3,699,479; total impact, $6,666,871.


For a complete list of recommended projects and funding amounts, go to www.observer-reporter.com.


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