Shenandoah Valley High School was the location of an October 17 DSI-hosted community meeting. The focus of the meeting was to update the public on The Center For Education, Business & Arts, a future business innovation center to be located on North Main Street. Members from DSI, Shenandoah Borough Hall, business leaders, and community members were in attendance.
Karen Kenderdine, DSI board president and treasurer welcomed and thanked everyone for their interest and ongoing support. She expressed her gratitude and excitement about DSI's progress explaining that the community alone donated $1.1 million to make CEBA a reality. She added that it has been a long road with many people helping along the way. "It is truly a community effort," she said.
She introduced Chris Gulotta, The Gulotta Group, a consultant who is helping DSI. "Chris has been instrumental in this progress of CEBA, especially helping us navigate local, state, and federal grants," Karen said. She added that Gulotta's expertise was offered to DSI by a grant from the Regional Legal Housing Services, a nonprofit law firm that focuses on affordable sustainable housing and community and economic development. Two representatives from RHLS, Kathryn Robinson and Raina Mehta who are also involved in helping with the project traveled from Philadelphia and Washington D.C. to attend the meeting.
Chris took the floor by expressing how excited he was to be a part of this important game-changer for Schuylkill County. He continued to explain that the project will be broken into two phases. The first phase, at $7 million will include the construction of the entire building's three three-level shell. The business co-working, incubator spaces on the lower level, the Penn State Classroom, DSI offices, the community kitchen, and EARN job training offices on the street level will be completely finished. The remaining co-working spaces and event center are part of Phase II.
Gulotta said that one of the reasons DSI was awarded the amount of grant money they did is because the community donated more than $1 M towards CEBA. "That sends a message to the state and federal government that his community has its act together and is doing its fair share to make projects like this a reality. Gulotta also explained that DSI will advertise for bids later this month and expects a contract to be awarded before the end of the year.
For more information about CEBA, visit downtownshenandoah.com or discoverceba.com.