HARRISBURG, PA-The Commonwealth Financing Authority approved 15 projects to receive a total of more than $16 million in grants and loans through the Business in Our Sites program, which is a component of Gov. Ed Rendell’s economic stimulus package. BOS has a pool of $300 million in grants and loans available to municipalities and development authorities to create shovel-ready sites for new and expanding businesses.

Funds can be used to acquire land, conduct environmental assessments and remediation, perform demolition, install infrastructure, and create access roads and other on-site and off-site transportation improvements. This first round of funding covers projects in 15 counties; however, the overwhelming majority, just under $14.7 million, is devoted to projects in Mercer, Wayne and Westmoreland counties.

A package totaling $8.6 million goes to Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corp. for a second phase of expansion of the 1,200-acre industrial park surrounding Sony Technology Center. The funds include a $4.3-million BOS grant and a $4.3-million BOS loan with a 20-year term and cover site acquisition, development and utility costs.

Wayne Economic Development Corp. obtained a package of nearly $4.6 million to acquire and renovate a 252-acre site into a business park. Phase I of the project involves the construction of 17 industrial sites. The package combines a grant of almost $1.4 million with a loan of close to $3.2 million for a 20-year term.

Penn-Northwest Development Corp. in Mercer County received just under $1.5 million to acquire and create nine industrial lots at the new Stateline Industrial Park, which is the former Sharon Steel site in Hermitage. The funding is an equal mix of a BOS grant and 10-year term loan. An additional $25 million in private funds will be leveraged for the project.

Planning grants of $175,000 each are awarded to projects in 10 counties, primarily for feasibility studies, engineering costs and design planning. Another $50,000 grant will fund a market study and appraisal of a 10- to 12-site industrial park in Lamar Township in Clinton County, and a $35,000 grant funds development of a 47-acre brownfield site in Morris Township in Clearfield County.

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