Bloomsburg, PA – March 16, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski (PA-11) today announced a $590,000 grant for a new owner-occupied housing rehabilitation project in the LaSalle neighborhood of Berwick Borough.
At his appearance in Columbia County today, Congressman Kanjorski also praised five community banks for their support of a major upgrade and expansion project at the Bloomsburg Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant to help the facility comply with Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy. Part of the project’s funding came through the Community Lending Program of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh (FHLBank).
Congressman Kanjorski’s remarks were made before Borough and Township officials, community and economic development advocates and community bankers at the Caldwell Consistory in Bloomsburg at an event hosted by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh (FHLBank) and several of its member financial institutions. Congressman Kanjorski is the Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises, which includes oversight of the FHLBanks.
Congressman Kanjorski presented the Columbia County Housing Corporation with a $590,000 grant from FHLBank Pittsburgh and its member, First Columbia Bank & Trust Company, for the new owner-occupied housing rehabilitation initiative in Berwick Borough.
The project, almost all of which is funded through an Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant from FHLBank, will allow 30 homeowners in the LaSalle Street neighborhood to make home repairs that will not only enhance the appearance of their properties in the near term, but also enhance property values in the long term.
“This initiative is especially important due to the number of Borough homeowners who leave their homes as they grow older, leaving behind properties in need of improvement,” said Congressman Kanjorski. “Berwick’s Blueprint Communities initiative, begun by FHLBank and community partners in 2005, outlines strategies to enhance property values, avoid blight, and encourage responsible homebuyers in the future. This grant is a major step in fulfilling that objective, which is especially important during these difficult economic times.”
“FHLBank’s Affordable Housing Program remains a vital element in community revitalization,” said Rich Kisner, President of the Columbia County Housing Corporation. “FHLBank’s willingness to commit AHP funds to this Blueprint Community underscores the Bank’s holistic approach to community building.”
In today’s second announcement, Congressman Kanjorski praised five local banks – First Columbia, First Citizens National Bank, First National Bank of Mifflintown, Peoples National Bank and Union Bank & Trust Company – for financing the start of expansion work at the municipal treatment plant.
The plant serves the Town of Bloomsburg, Scott Township and Bloomsburg University. Elements of the project include floodproofing, conversion to liquid chlorine, equipment replacement and an addition to the main building. Upgrades will allow Bloomsburg to comply with the state’s Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy, announced by Gov. Ed Rendell. This comprehensive initiative includes a call for the upgrading, rehabilitation and expansion of wastewater and water supply systems across the Commonwealth. More than half of Pennsylvania falls within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, and the governor’s tributary strategy is designed to improve water quality in 13 sub-basins that make up the Susquehanna and Potomac river watersheds.
The town, township and university are all helping to fund the plant expansion, with five banks in the region also lending a total of $15 million to help meet project costs.
First Citizens National Bank (FCNB) of Mansfield, PA is contributing to the project in the form of low-cost financing utilizing FHLBank Pittsburgh’s Community Lending Program, an $825 million revolving line of credit for community and economic development initiatives. Community Lending Program funds are offered to local lenders at FHLBank’s own cost of funds, keeping project costs lower than they might have been for project sponsors and taxpayers.
In addition to FCNB’s $5 million loan, another $5 million is being put forth by First Columbia, the lead bank. A third, combined $5 million in financing is being put forth by First National Bank of Mifflintown, Peoples National Bank of Hallstead and Union Bank & Trust Company of Pottsville.
“These community banks are showing their leadership by taking the initiative to use a resource like the FHLBank’s Community Lending Program to get the job done and improve local infrastructure,” Congressman Kanjorski said. “These five banks show that even in turbulent economic waters, it is important to get such projects off the ground.”
The Bloomsburg project began last month and is scheduled to be completed by December 2010.
FHLBank Pittsburgh is a wholesale bank that serves the housing finance and community and economic development needs of its owner-members. FHLBank Pittsburgh provides reliable access to low-cost funds, competitive pricing in the purchase of mortgage loans, correspondent banking, technical assistance, affordable housing grants and other programs so members can better serve their own communities. FHLBank Pittsburgh is privately capitalized and funded, does not use taxpayer dollars, and enjoys a triple-A rating. At December 31, 2008, it had 323 members in its district of Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia and approximately $91 billion in assets.
FHLBank Pittsburgh is one of twelve Banks in the Federal Home Loan Bank System, established by Congress in 1932 to support the residential mortgage activities of local financial institutions.