By Kaylee Lindenmuth
SHENANDOAH - Another state grant has been awarded to assist a project which looks to bring a business incubator to downtown Shenandoah.
Announced Monday was a $22,000 grant received by Downtown Shenandoah, Inc. "to buy property to construct a building that will house a business incubator," according to a press release.
According to the press release, the funding will be used to acquire the site of the former J.C. Penney store on North Main Street, adjacent to the former Davison's Furniture Store site already owned by DSI, both of which will be used to construct the Downtown Shenandoah Innovation Center.
Both properties were damaged by fire in 2007, when the Davison's property was destroyed and subsequently demolished. The J.C. Penney site, which housed Thunder Road at the time, was repaired and continued to operate until it was destroyed by fire in 2012 and demolished shortly after.
In addition to housing a business incubator, the center is planned to include first floor retail space, a community computer lab, an events space and offices for DSI.
“This funding will be the catalyst to a much larger project for the Downtown Shenandoah Inc. group,” said Senator David G. Argall, R-29th District. “The proposed Innovation Center is the long-term goal of DSI to breathe new life into a downtown business district. I look forward to working with Mary (Luscavage, DSI Executive Director) and the DSI Board moving forward on this exciting project.”
“I was saddened when the old J.C. Penney building was lost to fire,” said Representative Neal P. Goodman, D-123rd District. “I remember my mother taking me shopping there when I was young. But with the building coming down, Downtown Shenandoah Inc. will be able to work closely with Penn State to establish an incubator to bring downtown revitalization to Shenandoah.”
"The approval of the grant will allow us to go forward with our project for the Innovation Center,” said Luscavage. “We can't thank Senator Argall and Representative Goodman enough for all their help in getting approval. They have been the catalysts in this project.”
The grant, awarded through the Department of Community and Economic Development’s Neighborhood Assistance Program, is the second awarded for the project by the state, the first being a grant from the Keystone Main Street program for $17,500 for the project's planning portion.