Business district authority getting $50,000 revitalization grant

Rick Shrum

Washington Business District Authority was one of two Southwestern Pennsylvania applicants selected for funding through the COVID-19 Relief – Supporting Elm and Main program.

Gov. Tom Wolf announced last week that 43 projects statewide were approved for about $2 million in SEAM grants, which are administered by the state Department of Community & Economic Development.

SEAM aids revitalization organizations in older and historic downtowns, commercial districts and neighborhoods. The program is supported by Keystone Communities funding.

WBDA will receive $50,000 for its Main Street project. Mt. Lebanon Partnership will get the same amount for its Main Street program.

Sarah Collier, WBDA’s Main Street manager, said the grant will help the authority “cover gaps in utility and staff costs and provide more opportunities for on-the-street impact. We want this money to benefit as many people as possible.”

She was pleased the authority was chosen, especially in the midst of the pandemic. “We really appreciate Gov. Wolf’s consideration and DCED was really wonderful and helpful. This grant will allow us to stabilize a little bit after a rough year and enable us to make some investments for strategic priorities for downtown.”

Wolf said in a statement: “Communities across the commonwealth have faced devastating impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, during which Pennsylvania’s network of community development organizations never ceased answering the call for help.

“Our Elm Street and Main Street programs work tirelessly year in and year out – even in the best of times – to improve their communities. This funding will provide them with the support they need to overcome the challenges they’ve recently faced.”