On February 14, 2018, Luzerne Bank presented a $10,000 donation to the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress. This donation is being made as part of a larger $112,500 DCED (2017-2018) Neighborhood Assistance Program, Special Project Priorities (SPP) tax credit award. Other donors to this year’s program include Wells Fargo, Mid Penn Bank, FNCB Bank, Community Bank, N.A., and Landmark Community Bank.
This is the second round of tax credit awards being made to this project, which will fund Phase Two renovation and adaptive reuse of the property located at 13-15 West Broad St (a former bingo hall). This building is planned to become a new downtown business incubator and will be operated by Penn State Hazleton as part of the University’s “Invent Penn State” initiative.
Penn State Hazleton was recently awarded a three-year $150,000 grant through its Commonwealth Campus Seed Funding Program. The funding will inject $50,000 per year for three years into the THInC program (The Hazleton Innovation Collaborative), which is a network of entrepreneurial sites and services in southern Luzerne County. Penn State Hazleton will play the crucial role of education provider within the THInC network. Greater Hazleton’s CAN DO and CAN BE, which is the region’s primary economic development organization, and the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress (DHAP), will collaborate with Penn State University to create a program that offers premier entrepreneurial support services within the incubator, which will fuel longstanding economic development throughout the region.

 “Combining quality education from Penn State University with innovation and entrepreneurship creates a formula that will drive economic growth in the Greater Hazleton region,” said Senator Yudichak (D-Luzerne).
Considered for demolition a few years ago, the building underwent Phase One (blight remediation) renovations in 2017 after it was donated to the Alliance by DHD Realty. The Alliance has since been raising public and private funds to renovate and repurpose it as a key component of the downtown’s planned Arts & Innovation District.
“Our economy in northeastern Pennsylvania needs every bit of stimulation and growth available to it, said Representative Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne). As we know, small business start-ups become job creators. We are hopeful that by supporting entrepreneurs with training, expertise and a location in which to grow, we will be fostering small ideas into the ‘next big thing.'”

The DCED Neighborhood Assistance tax credit program is designed to encourage private businesses to invest in projects that improve distressed areas. For approved DCED Special Priority Projects (SPP), the tax credit is awarded at 75%. Downtown Hazleton qualifies as a distressed area due to its recent designation as a PA “Main Street” community. 

From left, James Kelshaw, Vice President of the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress, Joe Clifford, Downtown Alliance and Penn State Hazleton Advisory Board Member, Jocelyn Sterenchock, Coordinator of Entrepreneurial Services at CAN BE, Neal DeAngelo, III, President of the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress, Krista Schneider, Executive Director, Barbara Cassise, Vice President & Regional Manager, Luzerne Bank, Tina Caccese, Luzerne Bank, and Brenda Gugliotti, Luzerne Bank.