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Chester County Press

Rep. Houlahan acquires funding for community projects

04/11/2023 03:44PM ● By Richard Gaw

Photo by Richard L. Gaw        Through Rep. Chrissy Houlahan’s work to secure Community Project Funding, Oakland Avenue in West Grove Borough will receive extensive repairs and the installation of sidewalks.

By Richard L. Gaw, Staff Writer 

In the West Grove Borough last week, Representative Chrissy Houlahan looked down Oakland Avenue and reimagined the street as a vital connector to schools, businesses and parks, and one filled with the sound of children riding bikes on a new sidewalk.

Thanks to Houlahan, her vision of a redefined street in West Grove is about to become a reality.

The Oakland Avenue Revitalization project is one of 15 priorities in Chester and Berks counties that will receive a total of $10.4 million through Houlahan’s work to secure Community Project Funding through the U.S. House Appropriations Committee. The West Grove project will receive $216,656 that will be used to refurbish the deteriorating condition of the street, repair its storm water system and construct sidewalks that will improve public safety.

“The installation of new sidewalks on Oakland Avenue will instantly increase connectivity for residents as soon as they come around the corner,” said West Grove Borough Manager Gregory McCummings. “This is really going to step up our sidewalk system and provide a more functional method of getting residents to businesses and parks in the borough.”

The grant will serve to pay for what will be the second leg of the street’s revitalization. The borough received a grant from the county that recently completed the installation of sidewalks on both sides of Oakland Avenue from East Evergreen Street to Railroad Avenue.

Community Project Funding was also extended to the following agencies in Chester County:

·  $1 million for the City of Coatesville to create a master plan for Ash Park, that provide demolition and site preparation for the stormwater mitigation, establish a main park entrance, create open paved event space, renovate public bathrooms, relocate the playground area and install a new splash pad, build a pavilion structure with cooling station, add various seating types and new landscaping including trees and meadow grasses that provide stormwater management and reduced maintenance of sloped areas;

· $750,000 for the Kennett Library & Resource Center that will provide the new library with appropriate furnishings, fixtures, as well as new computers and associated equipment;

· $715,770 for West Chester University that will establish a comprehensive outreach, research and mentorship program that will guide students from elementary school to a degree in STEM;

· $605,000 for LCH Behavioral/Mental Health Support that will support the formation of a partnership between the Oxford Borough, the Oxford Borough Police Department and LCH Health and Community Services, and provide funding for harm reduction strategies including medically assisted treatment, group and individual psychotherapy, pharmaceutical management and access to existing programs;

· $325,000 for the Chester County District Attorney’s Office that will allow the department to purchase a Rapid DNA instrument, scientific and technology support services and supplies to help bolster law enforcement efficiency and improve community outcomes. This technology will enable law enforcement officers the ability to obtain DNA results in 90 minutes, helping to solve crimes and potentially exonerate those who may have been falsely accused of a crime;

· $200,000 for the United Way of Chester County that will create a state-of-the-art collaborative center designed to jump-start innovative approaches and solutions to community problems and drive economic development; and

· $100,000 for The Garage Community & Youth Center’s After School Youth Development Program 

“Here in southeastern Pennsylvania, we are known for our service to others and community engagement—and these 15 projects are a reflection of those guiding principles,” said Rep. Houlahan. “From workforce development and housing assistance to violence reduction and support for first responders, I’m extremely proud to advance funding for these projects. They are all force multipliers that will assist and uplift our community, while growing our economy.

“These projects are as diverse as our district, and together they represent a major investment in our future. Chester and Berks Counties continue to attract families and businesses from across the country and world, and this support will help ensure our community is strong for generations to come.”

The following Berks County agencies are also the recipients of grants through the Community Funding Project:

·        Alvernia University Reading CollegeTowne Health Science Expansion ($2 million)

·        Berks Latino Workforce Development Corporation  ($1.9 million)

·        Centro Hispano Daniel Torres Inc - Reading Community Health Hub Project ($635,713)  

·        Keystone Valley Fire Department ($29,385)

·        LGBT Center of Greater Reading - Violence Reduction Project ($113,520)

·        Phoenixville Area Community Services (PACS) ($1.05 million)

·        Reading Housing Authority – Oakbrook Homes Center for Community Services ($750,000) 

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].