Local Grant Details from UC Borough

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Local Grant Details from UC Borough

From Press Release

Since 2017 Union City Borough along with Union City Pride/Downtown Development has received over $865,000 in grants.

They have benefited residential property owners and business property owners and some of these programs will continue into 2019.

Some of the funding has yet to be spent but projects are in the works for 2019.

The ECGRA Community Asset Grant for $50,000 has been received, however, the Borough is continuing to work on acquiring the full amount of matching funds. This funding is for our local parks and the purpose is to support capital improvements which provide social, educational, cultural, health, recreation and economic benefits. Cindy Wells stated that “The specific work to be completed is still undetermined but it will include upgrades to our local parks. We are still hopeful that this work can be started in 2019.”

The ECGRA Renaissance Block Grant Program provides $50,000 over three years. In 2018 the Borough received $25,000 and the matching funds came from the property owner. There will be $20,000 in 2019. The purpose of this grant is to reinvigorate neighborhoods and main corridors, and boost buy-local efforts and combat blight. A specific area was to be chosen in the Borough for the focus for the three-year period. The area chosen was South Street, West High Street, the Avenues, East and East High Street. The improvements were for doors and windows visible from the street, roofs, soffits, gutters and downspouts, exterior lighting, porches, stairs, steps, paining, siding, shutters, chimney and masonry repair and driveways. In 2018 there were 9 projects selected out of 10. There is a 1:1 match required, and the maximum grant awarded will be $5,000. The Borough is now accepting applications for 2019 projects. Cindy Wells said “There are no income requirements on this program. The applications can be picked up at the Borough Office from 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Monday – Friday.”

The ECGRA Mission Main Street Grant was for $15,000 and was given to the Borough and an additional $15,000 to Union City Pride/Union City Downtown Development. ECGRA’s goal with this grant is “To create a targeted impact on Erie County’s municipalities through commercial corridors that are known as main streets”. A portion of the matching funds was provided by the business owners but also the Union City Community Foundation. The Foundation provided $4,500 and then honored the Borough with the “I Believe” award which was an additional $2,000. There were 9 applicants and all of them were able to utilize the grant. Some of the improvements included new siding, signs, windows, painting, awnings, and garage door. Cindy Wells stated “With just the improvements for the property owners on Main Street there was over $56,000 invested. That doesn’t include the portion of funds Union City Pride/Downtown Development invest in benches and planters on Main Street, and signage”. The Borough is applying for more funding for 2019 and should know by the end of March if there will be additional funds available, giving the opportunity to improve our main corridor.

To continue improvements to the main corridor in the Borough an application was made to the PA Historical and Museum Commission for a $25,000 planning grant. Part of the matching funds were received from the UC Community Foundation in the amount of $13,000 and $10,000 from ECGRA Mission Main Street Planning Grant. These funds are going to be used to have Historic Preservation Plans in the Main Street district on approximately 19 historic commercial buildings and will include a design guideline for Main Street streetscaping. The purpose of this project is to preserve the architectural heritage of downtown Union City, encourage private investment that is consistent with the historic integrity of the downtown and to retain existing businesses and attract new businesses. This project should be completed in late 2019.

The Borough also was privileged to receive the Keep America Beautiful Fresh Paint Days grant. This grant was funded in part by Keep PA Beautiful, Behr, and the Home Depot through Keep PA Beautiful Fresh Paint Days. This provided 20 gallons of paint and paint supplies which was used on a building on West High Street. The work was one by volunteers and many other donations of additional supplies, construction material, and food. “If it wasn’t for the volunteers and donations by local business’ this project could not have happened. This was such a blessing to see so many work together to make this happen” said Cindy Wells “and I would like to thank Hyer Electric, Five Star Car Wash, Matt Giesbrecht, 6 & 8 Lumber, Subway, Kim’s Townhouse, Tops Markets, Country Fair, volunteers from Hope Junction Church, CMA, UC Pride, Borough Council, all for being a part of this project.”

Union City Borough has had a Sidewalk Grant in place since around 2002. If a property owner replaces their sidewalks following the standards in place by the Borough they can receive $1.50/square foot reimbursement. In 2018 there were 14 property owners that replaced sidewalks and $4,500 was received in reimbursement. Last year the Union
City Community House Association gave the Borough $1,000 towards Sidewalk Grant fund. This grant will continue to be available and applications can be picked up at the Borough office.

The Borough did receive $120,000 Green-Light-Go Grant from PennDOT. This would have required approximately $24,000 in additional funds from the Borough. This grant was to replace traffic and pedestrian signals at all three main intersections on Main Street. This project would not have been started until possible 2020-2021. In the meantime, PennDOT, after looking at several safety concerns at these intersections, came back and said they were taking the project on to replace and upgrade all three intersections and there would be no cost to the Borough. So consequently, the Borough turned down the $120,000 grant and PennDOT is currently in the design and planning stages for each intersection. There will be a public hearing sometime in the spring to present preliminary drawings on each intersection. This work will be in 2020.

One of the last grants that was received was through PennDOT for a Multimodal Transportation Fund Grant for $121,800. The project is expected to cost over $160,000 and some matching funds will be required. This program is intended to provide financial assistance to municipalities to improve transportation assets that enhance communities and pedestrian safety. This application was designated for an area of sidewalks used by students walking to school. Cindy Wells stated, “We are hoping to start moving ahead on this project and start after school is out in June and completed prior to school starting in the fall”. The specific area of construction will be announced this spring.

“The Borough is privileged to receive these grants which will continue to improve the appearance and property values of both homes and businesses. We want to see a difference in this town and make it an attractive place to live and an attraction for businesses, not only in appearance but as a financial investment too. This is a great town.”

“Many of the grants available to homeowners offer the opportunity for making many types of improvements or repairs to their homes at a reduced cost.”

If you have any questions concerning any of the grants, please contact the Borough Office at 814-438-2331.

Before and after pictures of Union City businesses who received grant money for improvements.