DCED approves $36M in tax credits to businesses. $1.2M in Luzerne County


Luzerne County, PA - Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Rick Siger this week announced the approval of $36 million through the Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) to assist low-income individuals and improve distressed areas in Pennsylvania communities.

The NAP, which provides tax credits to businesses that contribute to nonprofit organizations’ efforts to revitalize communities, will support 261 projects across the Commonwealth.

The funding will support a variety of important community projects across Pennsylvania, including nearly $1.2 million total in several in Luzerne County.

“By encouraging businesses to make impactful investments in their local communities, the Neighborhood Assistance Program is driving investment to worthy causes and helping improve the lives of our fellow Pennsylvanians,” Shapiro said.

Through the NAP, businesses can receive tax credits of up to 80% on the contributions they make to a qualifying community project.

“The NAP helps our low-income areas in a way that very few state or federal programs do — by promoting and encouraging the public-private partnerships that put communities on the right track to fiscal health and long-term prosperity,” Siger said.

Luzerne County projects are:

• Commission on Economic Opportunity, $200,000 (Coterra Energy) — to support each of the five work areas identified for the project: Food acquisition, operational and partner capacity building for food distribution, partner network development, transportation and other household level barrier mitigation, and public awareness campaigns.

• Diamond City Partnership, Wilkes-Barre, $160,000 (Coterra Energy) — In year 2, DCP will manage supplementary sidewalk cleaning, graffiti removal, and maintenance via DCP Downtown Ambassador team; improve Downtown curb appeal through beautification; repair Midtown Village Clock Tower and Public Square information kiosk; initiate development of a comprehensive Downtown Walkability Study to improve walkability, bikeability, and vehicular connectivity; initiate planning for architectural lighting of key landmarks.

• Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress, $80,000 (Wells Fargo; Reading & Northern Railroad) — In year 5, this project will continue to focus on four priority areas of need: (1) Education & Entrepreneurship Assistance; (2) Expanded Arts & Cultural Programming, (3) Hispanic Business Integration & Community Leadership Development; and (4) Marketing & Business Recruitment.

• Diamond City Partnership, Wilkes-Barre, $7,500 (FNCB Bank; Community Bank) — DCP intends to continue its data-driven business recruitment and retention strategy to help businesses address the implications of pandemic-fueled structural changes to the Downtown economy.

• Greater Wyoming Valley Area YMCA, Dennison Township, $45,000 (FNCB Bank; M&T Bank; UPMC Work Alliance) — Camp Kresge’s Summer Food and Fun @ the Park program offers low income children access to free summer enrichment and social programming for 4 hours a day for 8 weeks to combat the summer slide. The project would provide a larger oven and an appropriate transport vehicle, which will enable the YMCA to increase the number of children served to 70 next year, or 25 additional children.

• Junior Achievement, Wilkes-Barre, $26,250 (M&T Bank; FNCB; Fidelity Bank) — Junior Achievement’s Inspire Career Discovery Initiative will expand in 2024 to include an additional 1,000 students from low income households with engaging curriculum on career pathways, an inspiring two-day, hands-on experiential career event, and a constructive follow up program that uses collected data to connect students with internships, job shadows, immediate employment, and post-secondary education opportunities.

• NeighborWorks Northeastern Pennsylvania, Pittston, $39,999 (Big Sandy Gas Co.; Coterra Energy; GasSearch Drilling Services; Susquehanna Real Estate Corp.) — 2024 Beautiful Blocks program goal cycle is to provide approximately $50,000 in matching funds for exterior home improvements to about 25 households in Pittston. The improvements to residential homes in the City of Pittston will compliment ongoing efforts to bring successful commercial revitalization to the downtown Pittston corridor, which has seen tremendous investments in downtown housing, business development, and public art.

• DDC Wilkes, LLC, Wilkes-Barre, $500,000 (N/A) — The tenant, Building Blocks Early Learning Center (BBELC), a regional early childhood education operator with an established track record, will provide much needed additional access to daycare services within Downtown Wilkes-Barre. BBELC’s new facility will provide another incentive encouraging workers to return to downtown offices, facilitating the district’s ongoing revitalization and its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the overall project will advance Downtown Wilkes-Barre’s repositioning as a walkable “live/work” urban neighborhood. BBELC plans to hire 25 new employees to their organization to operate this new location.

• Commission on Economic, $179,850 (Gerrity’s Supermarkets, Cargill Meat Solutions, Sheetz, Price Chopper Operating Co.; McLane Eastern) — The CEO Weinberg Northeast Regional Foodbank coordinates the charitable food system in Northeast Pennsylvania an provides food for distribution to over 275 partner organizations, including food pantries, soup kitchens, mobile food distributions, schools and child care centers.