Hermitage Gets $2.5M Grant for Mall Area Infrastructure

HERMITAGE, Pa. – Designs will be finalized over the next six months for infrastructure improvements around Shenango Valley Mall funded by a $2.5 million state grant.

State Sen. Michele Brooks, R-50 Greenville, and state Rep. Mark Longietti, D-7 Hermitage, announced the grant from Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program Thursday afternoon.

The program provides funds for regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational and historical improvement projects. The goal of Thursday’s award is to implement a comprehensive strategy to revitalize the mall area, providing retail, commercial, recreational and housing opportunities. 

“With this vital funding, a proactive public–private partnership will be able to move forward, from the drawing board to reality, in creating a ‘Town Center-style’ development for today and future generations,” Brooks said in the announcement of the grant. 

“Establishing a Town Center where citizens from throughout the region can gather, recreate and enjoy retail, entertainment and culinary amenities is a key part of advancing our local economy,” Longietti added.

The $2.5 million grant is the seventh Hermitage has received from the RACP program, Gary Gulla, assistant city manager, said. Past grants have been used for infrastructure and logistics improvements to assist Joy Cone Co., to provide matching funds for a federal grant used to construct the [email protected], and for Sharon Regional Medical Center’s information technology and electronics records center.  

The new project will focus on the intersection of state routes 62 and 18, he said. Hermitage officials have six months to submit a formal application detailing how the funds will be used.  

The money will mainly be used for infrastructure upgrades, stormwater improvements and open space areas, Gulla said. 

News of the grant award came a day after LRC Realty of Akron, Ohio, announced its plans to acquire Shenango Valley Mall. 

“We’ll work closely with the city of Hermitage and try to allocate those grant dollars toward elements of the project related to infrastructure and public spaces,” Frank Licata, president of LRC Realty, said Friday morning. 

“The funds will be used directly in that project area to help upgrade infrastructure and ready the site for redevelopment or repositioning,” Gulla said.  

The grant announcement builds on “the already great news” of the mall sale and speaks to the vision that Hermitage officials, Brooks and Longietti have for the progress of this community, said Sherris Moreira, executive director of the Shenango Valley Chamber of Commerce. It also demonstrates the power of teamwork, she added.  

“This funding will be a great boon to the development of a Hermitage town center and has the potential of working hand-in-hand with the vision of the new mall developers to become an even bigger attraction and quality of life amenity for the city and the entire region,” she continued. “Instead of only a retail hub, this has the potential to create the opportunity for the community to come together in a more meaningful way via a town center development approach.”

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