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Browne announces state funding for area projects

Four Lehigh Valley projects have received funding approval from the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, according to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Pat Browne, R-16th, who led the effort to secure funding.

“These awards represent a significant opportunity to leverage local investment that will lead to substantial new projects for the betterment of the Lehigh Valley,” Browne said. “Each of these projects have the potential to be a catalyst to transform and improve their respective communities.”

All four projects had previously been legislatively authorized and are shovel-ready, with groundbreakings expected in early 2021.

New Vitae Wellness and Recovery Center will be awarded $500,000 to support the construction of the expansion of the Mount Trexler Manor Veterans and Brain Injury Center, Coopersburg.

This expansion is in response to the increased need for specialized care for individuals with traumatic brain injuries or mental health challenges, especially for veterans.

RACP funding allows New Vitae to build six, eight-bed (48 beds total) treatment cottages in Lehigh County.

Each cottage will be self-sufficient with bedrooms and baths, a medication room, kitchen, community areas, laundry facilities and a learning lab.

They will be staffed 24/7 allowing for individualized care to be delivered in a conducive and unique setting.

The second project is a new 245-space garage in the City of Easton, which will be aided by a $500,000 RACP award for its construction, secured by the joint efforts of Browne, Sen. Boscola, D-18th, and State Rep. Bob Freeman, D-136th.

The third project is the Ridge Farms Medical Office Building. Kay Builders will receive a $500,000 RACP award.

The three-story, 45,000-square-foot medical office building will provide medical care to residents throughout the area.

This project is part of The Ridge Farms development, a $350 million, 138-acre mixed-use walkable community at the southeastern gateway to South Whitehall Township that also includes retail, restaurants, open space and 780 units of housing.

Finally, DeSales University will be awarded $1,000,000, for construction of a new academic facility, the DeSales University Medical Studies Building.

The building will be a 40,000-square-foot facility, which will house the Doctor of physical therapy and speech language pathology programs.

The building will contain labs needed for hands-on instruction for both DPT and SLP, as well as administrative and faculty offices, a lecture hall, classrooms, a student lounge and storage areas.

In addition to these projects, Browne was central in the efforts to secure $3 million in additional RACP funding for the Lehigh Valley International Airport Terminal Connector, Capital Blue Cross’ Allentown Office Renovations and the Lehigh County Humane Society’s construction of a new state-of-the-art Community Veterinary Clinic.

The expansion project for the Lehigh County Humane Society will also include renovated and expanded modern animal kennels and a new Community Adoption Center.

The Community Veterinary Clinic will include three wellness exam rooms, radiology, a long-term care area, dental, pre- and postoperative areas and a surgery center.