Nonprofits Seek Luzerne County U.S. Bailout Funding for Range of Projects

Editor’s note: This story is part of a periodic review of projects on the Luzerne County U.S. bailout funding request list.

Nonprofits are seeking funding from the Luzerne County U.S. Bailout for a wide range of projects outside of those previously reported for small businesses and youth aid programs, a review of pre-applications show.

The county board has about $96.3 million to reserve from its $112.89 million US federal bailout allocation.

Some of the nonprofit submissions are health-related.

Candy’s Place, a cancer wellness center in Forty Fort, is asking for $25,000 for a $30,000 project to expand its programs for veterans with cancer, according to its pre-application.

The nonprofit organization provides free services to clients and their caregivers, including support groups, stress and relaxation therapies, nutrition education and structured fitness programs, he said. .

Additional funds for the veterans initiative would come from donations and fundraising from individuals and businesses, he said.

Volunteers in Medicine, a community-based nonprofit organization that provides primary and preventative medical, dental, and behavioral services to uninsured and underinsured working populations in the county, is seeking a total of $1.5 million for its $3 million dollars in operational costs over three years, its pre-request said.

The nonprofit organization is not a federally licensed clinic and operates solely on foundation grants, special event proceeds and individual and corporate donations, he said.

In six months, he provided free health care to employees of 139 businesses in the county. Many hire part-time employees and are not offered insurance, he said.

Geisinger and Commonwealth Health are both supporting the clinic with in-kind services, knowing that the clinic is keeping the uninsured out of their emergency rooms, which could result in unpaid care, according to the pre-request.

An estimated 30,000 county residents lack health insurance, and three times that number are without dental insurance, he said.

“Volunteers in Medicine continues to be the safety net provider for people who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid and not enough to afford private health insurance,” he said.

The Family Service Association of Northeastern PA is requesting $15,000 to support “Talk Saves Lives,” its educational program that provides participants with a clear understanding of suicide and the latest research on suicide prevention and what they can do about it. their communities. to save lives, says the pre-request.

Historic preservation

The Irem Temple Restoration Project has requested $1 million for the $14.5 million restoration and repurposing of the Moorish Revival-style building at 62 N. Franklin St. in Wilkes-Barre to house event space and a museum, depending on its pre-application.

Built in 1907-08, the facility served as the main performing arts venue for the Mecca Shriners, and the scale of its minarets and decorative arches are unlike any other Shriners auditorium in the world, a he declared.

Restoration of the building began in 2020 with roof stabilization to prevent further damage, but was stalled in 2021 due to a lack of matching funds for a $2 million state grant, a he said, noting that the nonprofit continues to seek private donations and other funding options.

The main auditorium will revert to its original configuration – a flat-floor hall with no seating on the ground floor, he said. It would create a versatile event space for weddings, concerts, vendor shows, festivals and markets and attract tours that require this type of setup, he said.

The Irem Temple Restoration Project Board wants to enter into a management agreement with the FM Kirby Center for the Performing Arts in the Wilkes-Barre Public Square to benefit both sites, he said.

In a different project in the city, the Luzerne County Historical Society at 49 S. Franklin St. is seeking $120,000 for a $240,000 project to address building repair and accessibility issues, it said. he declares. Private donations would cover the difference, he said.

Arts

The FM Kirby Center for the Performing Arts is asking for $25,000 for a broadband upgrade and $424,150 for HVAC upgrades, according to its pre-request.

The broadband upgrade will allow the Kirby Center to broadcast the performances it offers, allowing viewers around the world to experience the entertainment, he said.

Aging air conditioning components need to be replaced due to breakdowns and the need to meet new government specifications for Freon, he said. Funding was secured to purchase the rooftop units and upgrade the coils, and county funding would cover associated costs for labor, removal and installation.

This project will cool the building for more than 90,000 attendees per year and provide better air purification, he said.

The Street Art Society of NEPA requested $20,000 to implement a mobile app promoting a street art tour in the Valley of Wyoming. It will allow residents and tourists to connect and interact with existing and upcoming county street art exhibits while using their mobile device, according to the pre-app.

In addition to more than 20 murals and 10 sculptures in the county that can be seen, the company is planning 13 more in the coming years, he said. The company wants to partner with local business, VizVibe, to “bring these amazing works of art to life and inform the viewer of their story, purpose, and vision behind the work.”

The app could also be used by other entities to promote arts events, he said.

“This mobile app would create a safe outdoor recreational opportunity for the public that would invite tourism by increasing foot traffic and in turn create the economic growth needed as part of the county’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. “, did he declare.

Lodging

The United NEPA Alliance and NEPA Inclusive have formed a partnership to address key housing issues in the county and are seeking $500,000 for a $1.6 million project, according to their pre-application.

This project would create safe, affordable and sustainable housing for two populations: people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, and county residents who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, it said. -he declares.

Grants, donations and investments would cover the remaining costs of the project, he said.

The Wyoming Valley Habitat for Humanity is seeking $30,000 for the $45,000 repaving of its ReStore parking lot, with the remaining costs covered by proceeds from the special event and other sources, its pre-request said.

The Wilkes-Barre Institute has requested $75,000 to fund the total cost of an extensive housing needs study.

The analysis is warranted, he said, because housing and rental costs have risen disproportionately to incomes in the county.

“Many teachers and police officers can no longer afford housing at market prices, even if they can find one. Additionally, recent college graduates, in entry-level positions, can no longer pay rent in Luzerne County,” its pre-application states.

The study will make recommendations on locations for new construction and redevelopment, the type of housing needed and price considerations, he said. He will also discuss burning and sanitation.

Animals

The Luzerne County SPCA, which cares for thousands of animals each year, is asking for $100,000 for a project that will cost $200,000 through the end of 2024.

The funding will provide temporary help with medication or other medical/emergency assistance to help keep pets healthy and happy in homes, the pre-application said.

“Many of these animals end up at the shelter for financial reasons, whether it’s a job loss, a change in health, an increased cost of living or other financial hardship. “, he said, noting that the remaining funding would come from private donations and grants.

And after?

The Board and administration are still discussing how to identify projects eligible for funding and what format will be used to determine approved projects.

The county received $186.8 million in funding requests — $171.58 million from more than 100 outside entities and $15.26 million from county government departments, the administration said. Some entities also submitted applications after the pre-application deadline.


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