State Provides Major Capital Grants to Allegheny College, County Historical Society | New

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Two State Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grants totaling $2.5 million will help create jobs to improve the local economy and preserve Meadville’s history.

A $2 million grant will go towards two separate projects at the college – renovating its Reis Hall and creating a new on-campus business and economics center for college students and staff as well as local job seekers and job creators.

A $500,000 grant will go toward renovating the Crawford County Historical Society’s Holland Hall on Terrace Street into a small hotel while preserving the historic mansion.

Both grants were announced Wednesday afternoon by State Senator Michele Brooks, whose district includes Crawford County. Brooks called both projects projects that will increase economic opportunity for the Meadville area.

Reis Hall, built in 1902, had served as the college library until it became administrative and other offices after the Pelletier Library opened in 1976. Reis Hall was closed in 2018 by Allegheny when renovations took place. started on the nearby Bentley Hall, its main administrative building.

The renovation is to include the restoration of Reis’ historic features as well as the construction of lightweight technology facilities, smart classrooms, design labs and co-working spaces. It will become the Allegheny College Lab for Innovation and Creativity, Computing, and Center for Interdisciplinary Research.

“Renovating an underutilized building on campus into a state-of-the-art facility that will house advanced manufacturing and robotics/automation labs and materials research facilities brings real new value to local manufacturers,” said Jim Becker, executive director of the Economic Progress Alliance. of Crawford County, the county’s main economic development agency.

The project is “a very significant investment and the first crucial step in a partnership between the college and the local manufacturing community,” according to Tami Adams and Elisabeth Smith. Adams is executive director of the Northwest Pennsylvania chapter of the National Tooling and Machining Association, a manufacturing trades group, while Smith is president and CEO of Acutec Precision Aerospace Inc. of Meadville, one of the largest industrial employers in the county.

The $500,000 grant to the Crawford County Historical Society will preserve Holland Hall, one of the city’s mansions along Terrace Street, to improve tourism by converting it into a small hotel complex.

“We’re thrilled,” Josh Sherretts, executive director of the historic society that bought the property in 2021. “We’re not just preserving it, but removing it from degraded property status.”

Holland Hall, also known as Huidekoper House, will be redeveloped into a 14-room hotel with restaurant as well as an entertainment venue showcasing local wineries, breweries and distilleries.

Currently, there are no operational hotels in the town of Meadville itself. A 2020 hotel market study conducted by the Economic Press Alliance of Crawford County found that there is a market for 75 to 100 hotel rooms in the downtown area of ​​the city.

Holland Hall will receive a new roof and a full restoration of the structure and masonry, and all materials containing asbestos will be removed.

The historical society already has a local matching of $500,000 for the grant through private donations through estates, Sherrett said.

The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program is a Commonwealth grants program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational and historic improvement projects. RACP projects are funded by the state and cannot obtain primary funding from other state programs.

Editor’s note: This article was updated on October 27 to clarify that the Allegheny College grant is for two separate projects.

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