Rep. Scanlon Secures More Than $8 Million for Community Project Funding in Appropriations Committee Bill
Washington, July 19, 2021
Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05) today announced that all 10 of the projects she nominated as part of the Community Project Funding process, totaling $8,456,562, will be included in the House Appropriations Committee’s Fiscal Year 2022 funding bill.
These projects are included in bills from two subcommittees: the Subcommittee on Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies funding bill, which was approved by the full committee on July 12, and the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies funding bill, which was approved by the full committee on July 15.
“It is my honor to fight for the residents of PA-05 in Congress, and I am incredibly proud to have secured this much-needed funding for 10 projects that I know will be game changers for the communities where they are located,” said Rep. Scanlon “The projects our office supported address some of the most pressing needs in our region — economic development, climate resilience, accessing treatment for opioid use disorder, and improving mental health resources during emergency situations. I will continue to fight for our district to ensure that we get the federal funding we need to make our communities stronger.”
Beginning this year, the U.S. House of Representatives allowed members of Congress to recommend specific projects in their communities for direct funding through federal appropriations. Rep. Scanlon solicited community project applications from nonprofits and government agencies across PA-05. The office paid particular attention to the requirements that recommended projects demonstrate broad community support, advance equitable goals, and meet other program parameters.
The Fiscal Year 2022 Appropriations Committee bill includes the following projects submitted by Rep. Scanlon:
Decades of disinvestment and industrial use have prevented the largely Black neighborhoods in Southwest Philadelphia from accessing the local Schuylkill River. Since 2015, historic Bartram's Garden has invested in free recreation and environmental remediation to increase access to the Schuylkill; and in 2019, a series of community meetings identified community stewardship, STEM-based youth-enrichment opportunities, and watershed health as neighborhood priorities. This project includes the construction of a watershed education center and a production hatchery for native freshwater mussels to serve as natural water filters. With more than $4 million already committed towards its design and construction, the funding secured by Rep. Scanlon will allow the project to be completed and help this community access a beautiful natural treasure.
AIDS Care Group will improve access to opioid use disorder and mental health treatments in Chester by adding capacity at its Center for Integrative Medicine. This project will add 50 percent more capacity for clinical services, increase opioid use disorder treatment, and allow for training of doctoral students from Widener University. More than 20 new jobs are expected to be created as a result.
The Darby Free Library, established in 1743, is the oldest library providing continuous service in the country. A recent inspection, however, revealed that the library is in need of urgent structural repair to its brick masonry and foundation. This project aims to create a resilient public building that can better serve its community members by renovating the historic structure to meet modern standards. The funding will be used to lower operating costs by installing energy-efficient solar panels, make the library accessible to patrons with disabilities, and repair the failing roof and gutters.
The Delaware County Community Partnering Program (CPP) will empower neighborhoods and build community through the deployment of micro-grants. The average grant will be around $25,000 — allowing the project to have a broad impact. Projects are generated by neighborhood residents and community groups and can include (but are not limited to) community gardens, pocket parks, bicycle facilities, pedestrian enhancements, elder transport coordination, snow removal for physically restricted persons, or education initiatives such as energy awareness programs. The CPP is specifically designed to provide outreach to historically underserved communities that have been impacted by disinvestment for many decades.
Through the use of Mobile Crisis Teams, stationed with the county’s Emergency Services Department, Delaware County seeks to enhance its efforts to address the mental and behavioral health challenges of residents who might otherwise find themselves in the criminal justice system. Mobile Crisis Teams will be dispatched in conjunction with law enforcement in response to requests for help for persons known or suspected to be suffering from mental illness. This project will divert those suffering mental health issues into treatment, with prioritized admission, to properly address their underlying needs. The Mobile Crisis Teams program is a collaboration supported by Delaware County’s Human Services, Health Advisor, District Attorney, and Public Defender.
The Trust for Public Land, in conjunction with F. Amedee Bregy School, plans to transform a paved, asphalt schoolyard that increases urban heat, flooding, and safety concerns into a climate-resilient, community space. Students, faculty, families, and the community were engaged to envision how this expansive, but neglected, public schoolyard could be reimagined as a park and play space. The new community and educational park will include play equipment, basketball courts, seating, shading, an outdoor classroom, and new greenery. F. Amedee Bregy School’s student population, which is 100 percent economically disadvantaged and 85 percent students of color, represents groups that bear the brunt of the effects of climate change and traditionally have had lower access to play and green space.
The 1927 Lansdowne Theater in Lansdowne will be rehabilitated into a regional concert hall and help spur investment in the surrounding community. With the “last dollar” funding secured by Rep. Scanlon, this $15 million project will be ready to start immediately and will implement capital repairs, replacement of mechanical and HVAC systems, roof repairs, restrooms, rainwater runoff system, theater seating, restoration of historic finishes and related equipment, labor, and materials within a historic theater and proposed one-story addition. The project is anticipated to create 51 jobs in the operation of the theater and 100 permanent jobs in businesses nearby in addition to over 100 jobs for the trades during construction. Once completed, the theater will create opportunities for enhanced educational programs through internships and access to myriad genres of music. This transformational investment is integral to wider commitments to create an anchor in the community to restore, enhance, and spur economic activity in this blighted urban commercial corridor.
PIDC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering job-creating development in Philadelphia, will work with the University City District’s West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI) to identify, train, and connect unemployed and underemployed adults to quality wage employment — increasing stability and economic opportunity for working Philadelphians. PIDC and WPSI will create a program at the Philadelphia Navy Yard to connect residents to jobs in stable industries that are “future proof” and won’t be eliminated by the rapid acceleration of workforce automation. PIDC will manage four training cohorts with a total of 65 participants, while also connecting additional job seekers with the robust network of employers at the Navy Yard.
PhilaWorks, working with CEO Works Philadelphia, will train and give job experience to formerly incarcerated Philadelphia residents who need targeted assistance to get back on their feet. The goal of this transitional work experience is to provide participants with the knowledge, experience, and training necessary to build lasting attachments to the workforce and become permanently employed. The project will provide 125-150 Philadelphians with immediate employment upon release from incarceration — working at the site of the now-shuttered PES oil refinery. Participants will assist with the clearing of the blighted refinery land, performing litter abatement, graffiti removal, and landscaping services to produce a fully green, eco-friendly space. The model used by this program has been shown to have a positive impact on both recidivism and long-term employment — reducing rearrest, reconviction, and reincarceration of recently released individuals by 16-25 percent in the three years following release from prison.
The new Upper Darby Community Center Green Roof will transform a completely paved corner parcel of a densely suburban area into much-needed green space. The Community Center is a multi-story structure that will be utilized for recreation, learning, and community events. The multi-level green roof will be the focal point of the center and will serve as an educational tool, community event space, and climate resiliency project. The first level will include an area for children to learn gardening and basic horticulture. The much larger second level will incorporate an outdoor passive recreation and event space — including outdoor seating, a fire pit, a stormwater management rain garden, and a shade structure.
The inclusion of this funding in the Appropriations Committee draft bill is the first step in the funding process. Rep. Scanlon will continue to fight for this funding as the bill moves to consideration on the House Floor and through negotiations with the Senate.