Luzerne County, PA – Today, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (PA-08) announced $578,000 in funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) for two improvement projects in Luzerne County. The Borough of West Hazleton will receive $500,000 for improvements to Rotary Drive in the Valmont Industrial Park, and Eckley Miners’ Village and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission will receive $78,000 to design a research center and overnight lodging facility.
“Too often Appalachia gets forgotten, but ARC is ensuring our communities have the resources they need to thrive. I am proud to support them in their efforts to get federal funding in the hands of communities and organizations across our region,” said Rep. Cartwright. “I look forward to seeing the improvements to Rotary Drive and the Valmont Industrial Park which is essential to the economic development of the Greater Hazleton Area and visiting Eckley Miners’ Village for their exciting programming that celebrates the rich history of our region.”
“West Hazleton Borough would like to thank Congressman Cartwright and staff for the supportive efforts on the Rotary drive project,” said Lou Pacelli, Council President. “In addition, West Hazleton is thankful to Kurt Bauman of NEPA Alliance and his staff for assistance. This project will help preserve 2,500 jobs and continue job growth in West Hazleton and Luzerne County.”
“West Hazleton appreciates the continued support by Congressman Cartwright on the initiatives to save jobs in West Hazleton,” said Mayor John Chura. “The Rotary Drive project will provide the needed infrastructure improvements for residents to safely travel to their jobs. This has been a grave concern for the Borough for many years and this funding will help relieve the pressures on taxpayers.”
“For nearly 170 years, Eckley has celebrated Pennsylvania’s anthracite heritage and served as a regional hub of community pride and tourism. This award will allow us to plan vibrant new uses for Eckley’s historic structures, expanding our audience and ensuring that the village enjoys a long, sustainable future as one of the Commonwealth’s most significant cultural resources,” said Chris Stokum, Ph.D, Project Manager at Eckley Miners’ Village.
The Valmont Industrial Park houses 44 businesses and has 11 undeveloped acres of available land for future use. With this funding, 0.37 miles of Rotary Drive will be improved to address issues with the roadway and drainage. The work will include the installation of public transit bus shelters, widening a cul-de-sac, milling, paving, base repair, construction of a culvert for stormwater management and installing crosswalks and traffic calming devices with walking and bike lanes.
Eckley Miners’ Village, a 90-acre, 19th-century coal mining company town, is one of the oldest, open-air mining museums in the country and currently offers public access to five of its 50 structures on the property. Eckley annually attracts between 10,000 and 13,000 visitors, and this grant will allow the organization to expand their educational offerings and lodgings for a wider audience.
Since 1965, the Appalachian Regional Commission has been supporting the economic development needs of 423 counties across 13 states in the Appalachian Region. A partnership between the federal government and those 13 states, ARC has transformed Appalachian communities, created jobs and strengthened regional economies.