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Impact Harrisburg awards more than $4 million in grants for economic development

Impact Harrisburg Executive Director Sheila Dow-Ford announced more than $4 million in grants on Thursday.

Impact Harrisburg Executive Director Sheila Dow-Ford announced more than $4 million in grants on Thursday.

Impact Harrisburg announced the first recipients of economic development grants yesterday. Eight organizations received nearly $3 million total in economic development grants. Five organizations received a bit more than $1 million total in grants for community building.

A total of 24 organizations applied for economic development grants. The nine-member board of directors chose to award these 13 organizations the full amount requested rather than giving partial grants.

“When we saw what applications came in, we really did not have a reason not to,” said Neil Grover, chairman of the Board and city solicitor.

Grover said that the grant-giving process is relatively new for the nonprofit.

“We really were forming from scratch,” he said.

The Harrisburg Strong Plan created Impact Harrisburg, a private nonprofit, in 2013 to distribute $13 million in economic development and infrastructure funds as a part of the state-sponsored recovery plan. In July, Impact Harrisburg awarded its first grants – about $5.5 million – for infrastructure projects.

Executive Director Sheila Dow-Ford said releasing nearly $4 million in grants will act as a catalyst in the city.

“These applicants really spoke to the needs of the community,” she said.

Impact Harrisburg broadly defined economic development. Many of the grants will support construction projects that will improve quality of life in the city, Grover said.

“These projects will be bringing people into the city and keeping people in their neighborhoods,” he said.

Jamien Harvey, executive director of the Camp Curtin YMCA, said he expects 500 to 800 kids will be able to attend judo, gymnastics and indoor soccer programs thanks to the $500,000 grant, which will expand program space. Also, adults will have more space for exercise classes that the Camp Curtin location previously could not offer, he said.

Monitoring the grant-funded projects will be the next step.

“There’s a lot that got started here that never got finished,” Grover said.

The monitoring process will differ depending on the project, but will ensure that all projects finish in the manner that was proposed, he said.

After these grants, the nonprofit has $1 million in reserves for economic development, Dow-Ford said.

“We don’t know If we will have a second round of funding,” she said.

Another round of funding would depend upon if Impact Harrisburg receives more funds to distribute.

Eight organizations will receive grants for economic development:

  • $500,000 to the Salvation Army for the completion of a community center on 29th Street
  • $500,000 to Harrisburg Redevelopment Authority to remediate blighted property
  • $250,000 to the Harrisburg and Capital Region Water Playground Resurfacing Collaborative to resurface playgrounds
  • $500,000 to the Camp Curtin YMCA to resurface a pool and expand usable space
  • $500,000 to WebpageFX to complete the construction of their expansion project
  • $81,369 to Harrisburg River Rescue to complete the construction of a facility on Derry Street
  • $500,000 to TLC Construction and Renovations for an incubator project for veteran- and minority-owned businesses
  • $100,000 to Paxton Street Home Benevolent Society to start construction of a senior living facility

Five organizations will receive grants for community building projects:

  • $350,000 to the Tri County Housing Development Corporation for Derry Street corridor development
  • $138,592 to the East Shore YMCA for façade improvement
  • $250,000 to the Gamut Theatre to complete the rehabilitation of former church to theater space.
  • $350,000 to the Community First Fund to set up a pool of loan funds for minority-owned small businesses

Author: Danielle Roth

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