Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Downtown Shenandoah, Inc. Awarded $500,000 State Grant to Help Build Center for Education, Business, & the Arts

Downtown Shenandoah, Inc. has been awarded a $500,000 state grant to support their efforts to build an innovation and event center, known as the Center for Education, Business, & the Arts (CEBA).

The announcement was made by Senator David G. Argall (R-29), Rep. Elect Dane Watro (R-116), and Rep. Tim Twardzik (R-123).

The center is planned to be built in an empty lot across from the Downtown headquarters in the 100 Block of North Main Street in Shenandoah and offer programming, training, and mentorship for budding entrepreneurs and small business owners at a blighted downtown site which has been vacant for many years. The center will also provide spaces for makers and artists, a business incubator, community event space, culinary makerspaces, a community computer, and a conference room. 

“This highly competitive funding is one more major step to help transform a vacant, blighted site into a keystone for Shenandoah’s revitalization,” said Senator Argall. “CEBA has been a dream of many dedicated volunteers in Shenandoah who have worked tirelessly to breathe new life into their town for many years. Thanks to this new funding, it is now even closer to reality – but there is still more work to be done.”

“I am thrilled to see this funding be approved for a new event and innovation center,” said Rep. Elect Watro. “This will be a vital asset to the district, and I look forward to seeing it thrive while bringing in new jobs and economic growth to our region.”

“Sen. Argall and I have been doggedly pursing these grant funds because the CEBA Project is so important to the Northern region of Schuylkill County,” said Twardzik. “Revitalizing our downtowns brings jobs, commerce and vitality while sparking additional investment. DSI has been determined to make this huge improvement, and I am pleased additional state dollars have been approved to move forward.”

"CEBA will be transformational,” said Karen Kenderdine, the President and Treasurer of Downtown Shenandoah, Inc. “It will give people the opportunity to create jobs, not just look for them while giving them the tools they need to be the best they can be and move our community forward."

"CEBA is already strengthening our community,” said Susan Williams, the Executive Director of Downtown Shenandoah, Inc. “New businesses are opening, blighted buildings being removed, and an increasing positive energy is happening. We are looking forward to this momentum continuing and are very thankful for this grant."

According to the press release from the legislators, the project is a key part of dedicated local efforts to revitalize Downtown Shenandoah.

The grant was awarded through the Department of Community and Economic Development’s Keystone Communities Program, which encourages the creation of public and private partnerships to support initiatives that grow and stabilize neighborhoods and improve the quality of life of residents.

This is the second state grant that has been awarded to Downtown Shenandoah Inc.  In December of 2020, the organization received a $1.5 million grant to go towards the building of the center.