Turning Dirt Into Jobs: What People Are Saying About Governor Shapiro’s PA SITES Program to Build Shovel-Ready Sites, Create Jobs, and Attract More Businesses to Pennsylvania

May 10, 2024

“We are thankful to Governor Shapiro for making economic development a priority in Pennsylvania. Programs like PA SITES provide much-needed support, making hard-to-do properties economically feasible for development.”

“The lack of ready-to-go sites has long been a barrier to attracting new businesses to the Commonwealth. Public funding in business-ready sites are smart investments that generate large returns by generating exponential private investment and supporting the economies and tax base of local governments.”

Harrisburg, PA – This week, Governor Josh Shapiro and Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Rick Siger announced $10.6 million in grant funding through the PA SITES (Pennsylvania Strategic Investments to Enhance Sites) pilot program to create shovel-ready sites in order to attract and retain more businesses and create good-paying jobs across the Commonwealth.

During visits to Lehigh and Westmoreland counties, Governor Shapiro and Secretary Siger announced the recipients of the PA SITES pilot program funding from the 2023-24 budget. After opening applications in September 2023, DCED received 102 applications for the PA SITES pilot program requesting more than $236 million in funding – outweighing the existing $13 million secured by Governor Shapiro in his first budget.

The influx of applications demonstrates the need for more state funding for these types of projects – which is why the Governor’s 2024-25 budget proposes $500 million to build on the PA SITES pilot program to ensure Pennsylvania can invest and make sites more competitive for prospective businesses through better transportation access, utility extensions, or grading of pad-ready sites.

Read what elected officials and community and economic development leaders are saying about the Governor’s proposed investment to create more shovel-ready sites across the Commonwealth:

ELECTED OFFICIALS

Senator Jay Costa: “Today, DCED and Governor Shapiro announced $10.6 million in PA SITES funding, including $2.3 million going to Carrie Furnace in Rankin. This is an incredible investment in attracting businesses and delivering family-sustaining jobs in PA.”

Senator Nick Miller: “This project is an exciting opportunity for our region. A new industrial facility will include robust job creation, economic development and manufacturing. Being a lifelong resident of Allentown, I have seen the transformation that has taken place in the Lehigh Valley by investing in our economic development. There is still work to do and progress to be made. We want to continue to support our existing businesses and encourage expansion, innovation and modernization of even more businesses. This project will provide utility extensions for water, sewer and natural gas from the existing city infrastructure. I am excited about all the potential we have under this new program. I applaud Governor Shapiro for his support of business development and the contribution to help businesses realize the potential Pennsylvania has to be their home. I look forward to advocating the expansion of PA SITES in this year’s budget.”

Representative Josh Siegel: “By getting sites pad ready for manufacturers eager to expand, today’s announcement of PA SITES funds for this parcel is absolutely nothing short of a historic victory for Allentown. It’s a win that will drive job creation, new tax revenue, and most importantly, offer a pathway out of poverty for residents here.”

Representative Abigail Salisbury: “The Carrie Blast Furnaces historic site is a unique, interactive attraction that draws folks to the area to explore, learn and invest back into local businesses. The new funding to make the area around the furnaces shovel ready for new development will build on this amazing landmark by attracting investors and commercial tenants, creating jobs and spurring economic activity. I’m grateful to DCED and the state and local partners who helped make the funding happen.”

Allentown Mayor Matt Tuerk: “Governor Shapiro recognizes the central role that Allentown’s residents have played in the economic success story of the Lehigh Valley, and today’s announcement affirms the value of making smart investments in growing regions. The PA SITES program will help Pennsylvania win and this project will help create good jobs for people in our community, strengthen our local economy, and help build a resilient Allentown.”

Westmoreland County Commissioner Sean Kertes: “We’re thrilled about this investment in Westmoreland County, meeting the rising needs for distribution facilities and manufacturing space. This project’s extensive infrastructure enhancements, supported by the state, will not only create a dynamic multi-use development but also drive substantial tax revenue for our community.”

Westmoreland Commissioner Ted Kopas: “The lack of ready-to-go sites has long been a barrier to attracting new businesses to the Commonwealth. Public funding in business-ready sites are smart investments that generate large returns by generating exponential private investment and supporting the economies and tax base of local governments, like Westmoreland.”

Westmoreland County Commissioner Douglas Chew: “For tourism and quality of life, our topography, our mountains, our vistas, and more, are prime reasons that people visit and live in Westmoreland County. We have a rich history of contributing to the industrial development of PA, the US and the world. But those attributes that make Westmoreland a great place to live, play, and work also make it difficult to build industrial infrastructure as easily as our flat neighboring states.  Westmoreland County is proud to help kick off the PA Sites program and witness investment of over $25 million for business growth and expansion.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND COMMUNITY LEADERS

Don Cunningham, President and CEO of Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation: “We are thankful to Governor Shapiro for making economic development a priority in Pennsylvania. Programs like PA SITES provide much-needed support, making hard-to-do properties economically feasible for development. Bringing sites to market sooner will allow us to compete for new and expanding businesses and meet the high demand for manufacturing and industrial space in the Lehigh Valley.”

Jason Rigone, Executive Director, Westmoreland County Industrial Corporation: “When we invest in site development, we invest in our economy and the future, and we ensure that Westmoreland County and Pennsylvania are viable choices in the ultra-competitive business expansion and attraction environment. Companies look for sites that offer ‘speed to market’; by addressing topographic and environmental challenges, the PA Sites program unlocks western Pennsylvania sites that otherwise wouldn’t meet today’s site-selection requirements.”

Lou Battistella, President of Adam Eidemiller, Inc: “The $2.5 million grant from the Commonwealth will be a God Send, as it will help with the many infrastructure hurdles that must be contended with in the design concept of heavy and light industrial rental buildings. On behalf of shareholders and directors of Adam Eidemiller, Inc, I want to express my thanks to Governor Josh Shapiro and his Administration.”

Laura Goodrich Cairns, President, Pennsylvania Economic Development Association: “There is so much untapped potential which is why site development funding is paramount. PA SITES is a critical tool for us as economic developers to position the Commonwealth for investment, to be able to attract and grow industry and expand the Pennsylvania Economy.”

R. Scott Unger, Executive Director, Allentown Economic Development Corporation: “The PA SITES program will allow AEDC to accelerate our redevelopment of a vacant brownfield and return the property to productive use. The funding will address a unique need of this property that requires utility extensions and with the help of the pilot program, AEDC can continue our mission of increasing access to manufacturing employment and restoring economic activity to underutilized sites throughout the City of Allentown.” 

Matt Smith, Chief Growth Officer of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development: “These proactive investments in pad-ready sites indicate what’s possible when the state steps forward to win projects. A robust PA SITES program will increase our inventory of ready sites, expedite landing deals, and usher in a new wave of investment in industries where we have a competitive advantage. We ask lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to work together with the Shapiro administration to move the PA SITES program forward so that we can compete effectively against other states for investment.”

Bette Slayton, President and CEO, Bedford County Development Association: “BCDA is thrilled to have been awarded a PA Sites grant for site development. This will enable us to move forward on a new multi-tenant building.  With limited inventory, coupled with strong demand, this grant will enable us to meet the needs of local businesses and new employers.  It marks not just a milestone but a catalyst for growth in our region.”

Mary Beth Wood, Executive Director, Wayne Economic Development Corporation: “Building a business park in a small, rural county takes partnership and innovative programs, such as the new PA SITES Program. The funding from PA SITES will enable Pennsylvania communities to build critical infrastructure and become much more competitive in attracting new industry and job growth. The PA SITES program is critical to Wayne County, which is small and rural and needs to aggressively build infrastructure to attract industry and private investment. We cannot wait three or four years to acquire funds and build a site that meets prospect criteria of being fully permitted and ready to go. We must prepare these sites now.”

See what Pennsylvanians are reading about the Governor’s proposed $500 million for the PA SITES pilot program and Pennsylvania’s economic future:

The Morning Call: ‘Dirt into jobs’: Allentown to receive $1.1 million to develop industrial site under PA Gov. Josh Shapiro program

Lehigh Valley News: $1.1M grant for Allentown brownfield will help turn ‘pile of dirt into jobs’: Gov. Shapiro

Lehigh Valley Live: Plan for new industrial site brings governor to Allentown with $1.1M check in tow

Lehigh Valley Business: Shapiro announces $1.1M investment in Allentown brownfield site

WFMZ 69 News: Gov. Shapiro announces grant to help transform long-vacant property in Allentown

Indiana Gazette: Shapiro announces $1 million PA SITES grant for Windy Ridge

WPXI: Gov. Josh Shapiro announces $2.5M investment to attract business, jobs to Westmoreland County

TribLive: Shapiro announces investment in Hempfield site, touts proposed program expansion

MEDIA CONTACT: Governor’s Press Office: ra-gvgovpress@pa.gov

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