Sen. Michele Brooks Announces Grants to Support Job Creation, Local Economy

Sen. Michele Brooks (R-50) announced that two Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grants totaling $2.5 million were awarded to Crawford County. The grants will benefit the community by supporting job creation and improving the local economy.

A grant in the amount of $2 million will be used for the renovation of Allegheny College’s Reis Hall and a newly constructed Center for Business and Economics, providing the space, infrastructure and technology to train community members and students to fill jobs that are central to the region’s economic development.

“This project forms a unique and important partnership between Allegheny College and local manufacturers which will increase opportunities for local students, job seekers and job creators. Developing new collaborations and strategies not only grows our jobs for today but also for the next generation,” Brooks said.

“This is very exciting news not only for Allegheny College but regional manufacturers! The renovation of an underutilized building on campus to become a cutting-edge facility that will house advanced manufacturing and robotics/automation labs and material research facilities brings true new value to local manufacturers. This is a very important investment and the first crucial step in a partnership between the college and the local manufacturing community,” said Jim Becker, executive director of the Economic Progress Alliance of Crawford County; Tami Adams, executive director of the Northwestern Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Tooling and Machining Association; and Elisabeth Smith, president and chief executive officer of Acutec Precision Aerospace, Inc.

The renovation includes the restoration of historic features, as well as the construction of lightweight tech facilities, smart classrooms, design labs and collaborative workspaces creating the Allegheny College Lab for Innovation and Creativity, Computer Science and the Center for Interdisciplinary Research.

The second grant, in the amount of $500,000, will enhance tourism and preserve an important part of Meadville’s history. It entails the redevelopment of historic Holland Hall into a 12-15 room quaint hotel featuring a restaurant offering farm-to-table cuisine, along with an entertainment venue showcasing local wineries, breweries and distilleries.

Holland Hall will receive a new roof and a full structural and masonry restoration. Additionally, any asbestos-containing materials will be abated.

“Holland Hall is a valuable piece of Crawford County’s history that can’t be lost. The grant to help preserve this jewel, while blending it into our local economy, will enhance Crawford County’s tourism industry. Baldwin-Reynolds House Museum and neighboring Holland Hall have the potential to be an event destination not only for local families, but travelers alike,” Brooks said.

Currently, there are no operational hotels in Meadville. A 2020 hotel market study conducted by the Economic Press Alliance showed that a market exists for the creation of 75-100 hotel rooms within the downtown district where Holland Hall is located.

“I want to thank former property owner, Ethan Jackman, an Allegheny College graduate, for his important work on Holland Hall, as well as Crawford County Historical Society for continuing that work to preserve this majestic home,” Brooks said.

Holland Hall was built in 1807 and has sat vacant and passed through a myriad of owners since the 1990s until the Crawford County Historical Society purchased the property in 2021.

RACP is a Commonwealth grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational and historical improvement projects. RACP projects are state-funded and cannot obtain primary funding under other state programs.

News release provided courtesy of Sen. Michele Brooks.