Congresswoman Susan Wild has announced that she has secured funding for four projects in the city of Allentown.
The new Da Vinci Science Center at PPL Pavilion, a city Emergency Operations Center, Community Bike Works and Resurrected Community Development Corporation’s James Lawson Freedom School on American Parkway NE are among a total of nine projects funded across Wild’s PA 7th District. The approved $9.8 million for all nine projects had been submitted by the congresswoman to the House Appropriations Committee for consideration.
Da Vinci is in line for $3 million. The city would receive just less than $130,000; Community Bike Works is allocated $1.4 million of which $1 million will be spent in the city, and Resurrected Community Development Corp. was approved for $575,000.
“I am proud to deliver vital funding to community projects that will provide much-needed updates, amenities, and support for the people of the district,” said Rep. Wild. “The pandemic has exposed where our community is in need of key investments, so I couldn’t be happier that all of these projects are true community endeavors that will ensure hardworking Pennsylvanians are supported and that our community has the tools it needs to build back better.”
The city will use the funding to purchase equipment, secure communication receivers, emergency back-up power generator, and other necessary items identified by the Allentown Emergency Management Agency Coordinator to establish the region’s first Emergency Operations Center in Allentown’s renovated fire and rescue training facility. A 25 percent local match is required.
“We thank Congresswoman Wild and her staff for helping to secure a Community Funding Grant that will establish an Emergency Operations Center (EOC),” said Mayor Ray O’Connell. “It is important to be able to prepare for and to respond to events that call upon all of our public safety resources. This will be a huge addition.”
“The EOC will serve the city and region as a centralized Command and Control facility for large scale events that require a multi-agency response,” said Allentown Emergency Management Coordinator Lee Laubach. “The city has long needed the capability to organize emergency responses to search and rescue, Hazmat, bomb and weather-related events. Thanks to the efforts of Congresswoman Wild, we will now have that capability.”
Da Vinci will expand STEAM activities for Lehigh Valley students, host international science exhibits, and generate an estimated $33 million in local economic activity every year from its new 800 block of Hamilton Street location beginning in 2024. The projected cost of the new center is $65 million.
Community Bike Works will use the funding to purchase and renovate a new bike shop/youth center in the city’s Franklin Park neighborhood. The organization hopes to secure a larger space, with more room for additional students and additional programs, that is closer to Franklin Park. The current bike shop has been on Madison Street in the Franklin Park neighborhood since 2000.
Community Bike Works Executive Director Kim Schaffer said, "This money will go towards our ultimate mission – engaging students in youth bike mentoring to ensure they have the tools they need to succeed.”
Community Bike Works teaches life lessons through bicycles in its flagship Earn a Bike and Junior Earn a Bike programs and a range of cycling and leadership programs.
According to a news release from the congresswoman’s office, funding for Resurrected Community Development Corporation’s James Lawson Freedom School will be used for training, program fees, and equipment to help expand RCDC’s K-12 Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School program from three to six sites in Summer 2022.
The funding for the projects will now be included in FY22 appropriations bills.