Competitive Applications for Keystone Communities OPEN, Grant Writing Webinar, Building Codes on Main Street

Source: Pennsylvania Downtown Center Messenger

FY2022 guidelines are now posted on the DCED website and competitive applications will be accepted 7/1/22 through 8/31/22

The Keystone Communities Program (KCP) program is designed to encourage the creation of partnerships between the public and private sectors that jointly support local initiatives such as the growth and stability of neighborhoods and communities; social and economic diversity; and a strong and secure quality of life. The program allows communities to tailor the assistance to meet the needs of its specific revitalization effort.

Communities may wish to consider designation through the KCP program as a Keystone Main Street, Keystone Elm Street, Keystone Enterprise Zone, or Keystone Community. Designation is an opportunity for targeted investment and development including the identification of specific needs for investment and/or development and the design and implementation of a strategy to address those needs.

Updates Impacting the Commonwealth

Gov. Wolf Announces Federal Transit Administration Grant to Expand Access to Transportation Assistance Programs

Governor Tom Wolf recently announced that the Pennsylvania departments of Transportation (PennDOT) and Human Services (DHS) have been awarded a $750,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to expand its Find My Ride (FMR) online tool, Pennsylvania’s “one-stop shop” for access to human services transportation.

Pennsylvania was among 17 states that received funding through FTA’s Innovative Coordinated Access & Mobility (ICAM) Pilot Program, which received millions more in funding thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). “Since taking office I have committed to expanding access to health care to ensure that Pennsylvanians have the opportunity to lead healthier lives,” said Gov. Wolf. “This grant through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law builds upon my commitment and will help some of the commonwealth’s most vulnerable citizens get to and from their health care appointments by reducing transportation barriers they would experience otherwise.”

Submissions for Third Quarter Now Open for Hometown Grants

Main Street America and Smart Growth America have partnered with T-Mobile to help build stronger, more prosperous small towns and rural communities. With T-Mobile’s Hometown Grant program, they’re investing big in small towns by awarding up to 100 towns a year with project funding—up to $50,000 each. Since the program’s start, T-Mobile has given more than $4.4 million dollars to kickstart 100 community development projects across 36 states, including the latest grant-winning recipients.

Building Codes on Main Street

Tuesday, August 2 – Thursday, August 4 | 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

There are thousands of designated and informal Main Streets in America’s smaller towns and urban neighborhoods. These districts are often composed of smaller, one- to three-story masonry or wood-frame buildings with retail shops or offices on the first floor and opportunities for residential units above. Far too often, the entire building or upper stories are vacant or underutilized, hampering reinvigoration of neighborhoods. Owners wanting to rehabilitate these buildings are commonly stymied by the high cost of building upgrades forced upon them “to meet modern building codes.” These demands become economic barriers to investment and burdens to owners. The code barrier has become a reality in many communities, particularly for the upper stories, where vacancy rates can exceed 50%. This workshop will provide a detailed examination of the building stock on Main Street to explore its typical building features and connect these characteristics to compliance paths within the International Existing Building Code (IEBC). The team of experts for this workshop will break down issues related to fire safety, accessibility and energy conservation and explore more financially viable alternatives to make buildings safer and meet codes.

The Journey Back to the Stars: Limiting the Harmful Effects of Light Pollution

July 20 | 7:00 – 8:15 p.m.

The night sky is getting brighter each year, obscuring the stars from our sight. Light pollution is the cause, the excessive, obtrusive, artificial light at night that prevents us from living under a sky bright with stars. It adversely affects human health and the entire nighttime ecosystem, and can produce unsafe glare and raises our carbon footprint by wasting energy. We can limit the disruption of wildlife across Pennsylvania and restore our environmental balance with a combination of education, technology, and ordinances. Join experts in the field to learn about the dark side of light and what steps can be taken to bring back the stars. Learn more about the Pennsylvania chapter of the International Dark-Sky Association:

Grants – Finding, Writing, and Managing – Oh My! (Part 1)

July 28 | 6:30 – 7:45 p.m.

Join WeConservePA in welcoming guest speaker Joanne Walker for a two-part workshop series on grant finding, grant writing, and grant management for Environmental Advisory Councils. Learn more about the process of identifying grant opportunities, the application process, and what to do if you are successful in obtaining a grant for your municipality.

We will cover the specifics of:

  • How municipalities typically apply for and manage grants,
  • Finding grant opportunities for your EAC and community,
  • Writing the application, and
  • How to manage a grant once awarded.

Joanne Walker has been an environmental and land use attorney for over 35 years. She is also an adjunct associate professor in Temple University’s City and Regional Planning and Community Development programs, teaching courses in Planning Law, Nonprofit Management, and Grant Writing for over 15 years. Joanne received her law degree and a Masters in Public Administration from Syracuse University and her undergraduate degree from LaSalle University. She is also a member of the Upper Gwynedd Township Environmental Advisory Council.

National Rural Grocery Summit: “Trustbusting Makes a Comeback”

The National Rural Grocery Summit brings together store owners, community leaders, food suppliers, and academic researchers to strategize on how to sustain rural grocery stores and improve rural access to healthy foods. This year, ILSR Co-Director Stacy Mitchell gave a lively keynote address where she talked about how monopolistic corporations are squeezing independent businesses and farmers out of the market — and the resurging antimonopoly movement that is fighting to revive our antitrust laws.

In the 1930s, Mitchell explained, A&P dominated the grocery retail market. It used its market muscle to demand steep discounts and priced goods below cost, driving independent grocers out of the market and eliminating competition. In the 1940s, the government sued A&P for antitrust violations and for attempting to monopolize the grocery market. The subsequent ruling resulted in an end to a lot of these practices, but Congress and federal agencies have since saddled our economy by abandoning the enforcement of antitrust regulations under the assumption that “bigger is better.”

“But, the great news is that we are now in the midst of an antimonopoly comeback. There is an increasingly widespread recognition that America has a monopoly problem and that we need to do something about it,” Mitchell contended. There is a viable opportunity to resurrect our antitrust laws and “stand up for our liberty and democracy as Americans.”

Summer Federal Advocacy Update (Recorded Forum Webinar) 

Join the National Trust’s Government Relations team and historic preservation colleagues for an advocacy update ahead of the fall election season. Learn what you can do now to advance federal preservation policies as the summer offers unique opportunities to engage your members of Congress.

Note: this session covers the best practices for in-district lobbying over the summer.