Wolf Administration Highlights New Funding for Arts, Recovery Projects in Washington County

Charleroi, PA – Today, Department of Community and Economic Development Deputy Secretary of Community Affairs and Development Rick Vilello highlighted two community development projects recently approved for funding in Washington County.

Announced by Governor Tom Wolf in November, Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) funding will help Mon Valley Academy for the Arts (MVAA) with the development of a central office space and will also assist substance use disorder recovery organization Club Serenity with facility upgrades including accessibility updates, a children’s play area, and training and computer space.

“Community development projects like these are critical for building strong, stable communities in the commonwealth,” said Deputy Secretary Vilello. “The MVAA and Club Serenity projects will strengthen Charleroi by extending their reach in this community and providing safe spaces to connect more residents with support for their health and wellness and offer more expansive arts education opportunities.”

MVAA has hosted community events for years, offering arts and cultural programs to the Mon Valley, without a central location to house necessary materials and archived music and art. As part of its goals to double program offerings, the organization realized the need for a central office space. The NAP funding will support the development of a central hub, open to all residents of Mon Valley, to offer additional dance, theater, and increased visual arts programs at a more convenient and accessible location.

Club Serenity is a non-profit substance use disorder recovery organization founded in 1992 that provides services to approximately 400 individuals on a weekly basis. All of Club Serenity’s expenses are funded through donations and fundraising, but after experiencing an increase in need due to the opioid epidemic, finances were lacking to respond to the area’s growing need. The NAP funding will support making furnishing and bathroom accessibility updates, creating a safe space for a children’s play area, and for a training and computer space.

Along with state funding, both projects also received assistance from UPMC which provided $35,000 in donations to MVAA and $20,000 to Club Serenity for these projects.

“Club Serenity and Mon Valley Academy for the Arts each play an important role in increasing the health and wellbeing of the Charleroi community,” said Scott Lammie, Senior Vice President of Business Development at UPMC Health Plan. “Club Serenity is a crucial neighborhood resource for local families struggling with addiction while Mon Valley Academy for the Arts helps to cultivate an appreciation of music and the arts that can last a lifetime. For these reasons and more, UPMC Health Plan is proud to support both organizations through NAP.”

NAP encourages private sector investment into projects that will help improve distressed communities by providing tax credits to businesses that donate capital to support projects that address neighborhood and community problems. NAP can be used for projects in categories including affordable housing, community services, crime prevention, education, job training, charitable food, blight, special population issues, veteran’s initiatives, and long-term community revitalization.

For more information about the Wolf Administration’s commitment to community development or DCED, visit the DCED website, and be sure to stay up-to-date with all of our agency news on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
J.J. Abbott, Governor’s Office, 717.783.1116
Casey Smith, DCED, 717.783.1132

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