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Chester County gets millions in federal funding, for first responders, workforce development

10 projects benefit in Chester County

Originally published in Daily Local News

U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) successfully funded 14 Community Project Funding priorities, totaling more than $10 million, through the House Appropriations Committee. The Appropriations’ package was signed into law in December 2022. The purpose of Community Project Funding is to enable Members of Congress to allocate available federal funds to worthy, local projects in a timely manner.

While each congressional office processes Community Project Funding requests differently, all Members are required to publicly disclose their selections and sign letters certifying they have no personal financial interest in the projects. To ensure transparency for and accountability to her constituents, Houlahan goes above and beyond House guidelines by creating a non-partisan community board to review applications and make recommendations regarding project selection.

“These funds are going to make a real, tangible difference in the lives of Pennsylvanians in Chester and Berks counties,” said Houlahan. “Our office received dozens of worthy funding proposals, and with the help of a board of non-partisan local leaders, we were able to advocate for projects that will improve health, safety, education, and workforce opportunities across our region. I am thrilled that we were successful in securing requested funding for 14 community-focused projects. From Reading to Oxford and everywhere in between, our residents will see safer and more reliable roadways, expanded and accessible green spaces, improved educational opportunities for our kids, and more.”

Houlahan secured the following funding on behalf of local organizations.

Borough of West Grove

Oakland Avenue Revitalization: $216,656

“West Grove Borough is profoundly grateful to receive the support of Representative Houlahan and her Staff to be selected as one of the fourteen ‘FY23 Community Project Funding Award’ Recipients,” said Greg McCummings, Manager of West Grove Borough.  “The Borough will be allocating the funds to further improve pedestrian walkability and safety within the community.  The funds will be used to install handicap accessible sidewalks and crosswalks on a section of roadway that does not currently have sidewalks.  The awarded funds will connect the Northeast corner of the Borough to the downtown commercial district as well as recreational opportunities in Memorial Park.  Your support is a critical component of the Borough achieving the goals set forth in our Comprehensive Plan.  On behalf of the residents and business owners of West Grove Borough, thank you!”

City of Coatesville

Ash Park Master Plan Implementation: $1 million

“The City of Coatesville is honored to be one of 14 community projects funded by Representative Chrissy Houlahan. The recognition given to the Ash Park Master Plan speaks to Representative Houlahan’s awareness to provide safe environments designed to enhance the quality of life and youth development opportunities for park visitors and residents,” said James Logan, Coatesville City Manager. “Ash Park is one of Coatesville’s oldest parks in the City, covering 9.3 acres of open recreational space. According to County records, Ash Park was purchased by the City of Coatesville in 1917. This funding serves as the kick-starter for Phase I of a five (5) year renovation, preservation and construction improvement project. The new features will help shape programming, events, and other outreach efforts to bring thousands of people to the park. We are excited about the future of Ash Park and thanks to Chrissy Houlahan, we are already making great strides toward the future.”

The Garage Community & Youth Center, Kennett

After School Youth Development Program.: $100,000

Kennett Library

New Kennett Library Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment.: $750,000

“The Kennett Library thanks Rep. Chrissy Houlahan and Sen. Bob Casey for including the new Kennett Library & Resource Center as one of the 14 recipients for the FY23 Community Project Funding Award,” said Jeff Yetter, President of the Library’s Board of Trustees.  “This new library will bring innovative services and resources to the Kennett region to enrich and improve the lives of all of our citizens. We look forward to opening the doors this spring and offer our community a safe and beautiful space to learn and grow.”

Keystone Valley Fire Dept.

Stryker lift EMT.: $29,385

“The Keystone Valley Fire Department…is very grateful to be selected by Representative Houlahan and Staff to be one of the fourteen ‘FY23 Community Project Funding Award” Recipients,” said Joseph (Joe) Miles, EMS Manager, Keystone Valley Fire Department. “Our fire department will be allocating the awarded funds to our Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Division for the purpose of purchasing a Stryker PowerLOAD lift system that allows for the loading and unloading of the patient on the stretcher [and] will also help reduce injury to our providers…Thank you again for empowering a local EMS agency to better care for our patients and our crews.”

LCH, Kennett Square

Behavioral/Mental Health Support.: $605,000

“LCH thanks Representative Houlahan for her strong support of our mission on behalf of the over 9,000 patients we serve. LCH is celebrating 50 years of serving southern Chester County with comprehensive primary healthcare for everyone in the community,” said Ronan Gannon, CEO, “and the Community Project grant will help LCH to continue to adapt to and address our community’s evolving behavioral and mental health needs.”

Phoenixville Area Community Services

Infrastructure Upgrades: 1 million.

“Representative Chrissy Houlahan and her staff worked tirelessly to secure these funds for PA’s 6th district, and we are beyond grateful,” said Mary Fuller, Executive Director of Phoenixville Area Community Services (PACS). “We will use our $1,056,000 in Community Project Funding to complete much-needed infrastructure upgrades at our food distribution center. Our neighbors experiencing food insecurity will benefit as a result of our improved accessibility, dependable electrical system, and expanded cold storage capacity. As we serve more than triple the number of people we did prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, these funds will put PACS in an ideal position to nurture food security in the greater Phoenixville area for years to come.”

United Way of Chester County

United Way Social Innovation Lab.: $200,000

“When United Way of Chester County decided to pursue an aggressive project to create a permanent headquarters for the organization, we wanted to make sure that this new home included space to help nonprofit organizations be more entrepreneurial and innovative and then support pilot programs to allow them to try creative solutions to community problems,” said Chris Saello, President and CEO. “Knowing that Congresswoman Houlahan has been an entrepreneur in her career we immediately reached out to her for guidance and support. As she has always done for United Way of Chester County, she went to bat for us in Washington D.C. and secured pivotal funding to allow the United Way of Chester County Social Innovation Lab to be born. This facility and program will serve nonprofits throughout Chester County for years to come and would not have happened with Representative Houlahan’s support. We are so grateful to the congresswoman for the ongoing support and trust in our organization and look forward to sharing with her and the community the exciting work that develops from this lab in the future.”

West Chester University

WCU Moonshot I Want to STEM: $715,770

“West Chester University (WCU) is deeply grateful to U.S. Representative Chrissy Houlahan and U.S. Senator Bob Casey for advocating successfully on the University’s behalf to secure a much-needed appropriations funding in the amount of $716,000 to support WCU Moon Shot: I Want to STEM (sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics)!,” says Senior Vice President and Interim Provost Jeffery L. Osgood. “This critical project is an essential component of the University’s Moon Shot for Equity mission, which is dedicated to closing equity gaps in student success and defying systemic barriers by 2030 so all WCU students can excel. The WCU College of Sciences and Mathematics Center for STEM Inclusion and the Center for Nanomaterials has designed the I Want to STEM! initiative as a comprehensive outreach, research, and mentorship program that will guide students successfully from elementary school to a bachelor’s degree in STEM. The program will establish a chain of mentorship between grade 3-12 students, undergraduates, and faculty/industry partners. The project, which has the potential to serve as a dynamic model for addressing achievement gaps, has been intentionally designed to expand K-12 STEM engagement for students in grades 3-12 who are of color and low income, as well as to improve college STEM retention by increasing financial assistance and building a sense of community for college students at WCU who are of color and low income. Supporting this transformative work demonstrates that inclusion is an uncompromising priority for all of us.”

Houlahan added: “For the second year in a row, I have seen the positive impact these funds can deliver for Southeastern Pennsylvania. I look forward to our office’s continued partnership with these incredible organizations so we can support them as they serve our community.”