Bethlehem, Oct. 7, 2011— State Sen. Lisa M. Boscola today announced the final approval of $1million in state funds for the proposed Slate Belt YMCA, which will be located in Pen Argyl.

“I am pleased that state dollars will be used toward this important investment in our youth and our families,” Boscola said. “I will continue to seek ways for the state to partner with local entities to promote organizations like the Slate Belt YMCA that will have a positive impact on the citizens of the Lehigh Valley and Pocono Mountains regions.

The Slate Belt YMCA will be built in the Borough of Pen Argyl, utilizing the former Scotty’s Fashion cutting facility on Pennsylvania Avenue, which was donated by Tighe and Neil Scott of Pen Argyl.  The facility will provide recreation and wellness programs to the entire Slate Belt Region of Northampton County.

After the donation of property was offered, the Green Knight Economic Development Corporation, a non-profit, 501(c)(3) economic development agency serving the Pen Argyl Area School District, was approached by members of the Slate Belt YMCA Founders Committee seeking matching funds in order to secure the RACP funding.  Founders Committee members requested assistance for this community revitalization project and the Green Knights became an enthusiastic lead partner, with a pledge of $ 1 million to match the RACP request.

“The quest to build a YMCA for the citizens of the Slate Belt has been ongoing for approximately 10-15 years,” stated Dick Smith, President of the Slate Belt YMCA Board of Directors. “With this RACP grant for $1,000,000.00 and matching grant from the Green Knight Economic Development Corporation we will soon be able to start the construction of the Y in Pen Argyl.”

“We cannot understate the importance of bringing a YMCA to the Slate Belt,” Carlton Snyder, President of the Green Knight Economic Development Corporation stated. “The positive impact it will have on countless families made our decision to offer a matching grant for $1 million a simple decision on our part.”

“This project is a perfect example of a public private partnership that will enhance the community health and well-being of a region,” Boscola said.  “The Green Knight Economic Development Corporation has made a tremendous impact on the lives of Slate Belt families through their dollar for dollar match of state funds.  Without their commitment to the Slate Belt, the Governor would not have released the grant because the project would not have been ready to move forward.”

The RACP grant will be used for the rehabilitation and conversion of the Scotty’s Fashion facility into the Slate Belt YMCA.  Construction due to the RACP grant and the matching grant from the Green Knight Economic Development Corporation is now anticipated to commence in six months and the facility will be ready for the families of the Slate Belt in 12-18 months.

“The dedicated group of volunteers on the Founders Committee as well as local businesses and individuals who have partnered with us over the years are thrilled to see the project begin,” Smith added.

In an effort to secure state assistance for this project, in 2006 then State Representative Craig A. Dally sponsored legislation that provided the authorization of   $1 million for construction of a Slate Belt YMCA through the Commonwealth’s RACP (Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program) grant program, which is administered by the Department of Community and Economic Development.

For additional information:
Dick Smith, Slate Belt YMCA-610.863.6031
Carlton Snyder, Green Knight Economic Development Corporation-610.863.5395
Frank Frey, Nazareth YMCA-610.759.3440
Kurt Derr, Senator Boscola’s Office-484.358.2299

###