state street

JOHN ZAVINSKI | Herald file

SHARON – The city is receiving a sizable grant as part of $170.65 million in funding from Community Development Block Grants and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development programs as a result of the latest coronavirus relief legislation.

Sharon will receive $347,520 from the initial round of funding in the the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

City Manager Bob Fiscus said the money is welcomed, but city officials have not yet determined how it will be spent.

“We’ll make sure it goes to good programs to provide some relief, because we know there’s a lot of people hurting right now,” Fiscus said.

Fiscus said that he has had a preliminary meeting with the city’s community development director, Melissa Phillips, and they are forming a plan.

“With all the negative things happening here, it gave us a sense of relief to let us know we’d be able to do something,” Fiscus said. “I think that there’s a lot of people not working right now and the expenses don’t stop and they’re going without paychecks.”

Fiscus said the city would like to support Sharon’s small businesses as well.

“I think that’s a big part of it, for us to help them to ensure that they can continue in business after this,” Fiscus said.

He said the money comes with strings attached, and Phillips is researching what guidelines the city will have to follow.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly announced the funding measures, along with the municipalities that would be finding relief. The city of Sharon was the only municipality in Mercer County receiving one of the CARES grants.

“CDBG plays an instrumental role in advancing locally driven projects that create jobs and contribute to economic growth, and the funding is as important as ever as our nation battles this pandemic,” Casey stated in a press release.

Erie and Millcreek Township, both in Erie County, were the only other municipalities in Kelly’s 16th congressional district to receive funding through the CARES Act. Erie is in line to receive $1,866,324 in CDBG funding and a $931,503 emergency shelter grant. Millcreek Township will receive $153,527.

“During this public health emergency, it is crucial that local communities have the resources they need to effectively protect the health and safety of their residents,” Kelly, R-16, Butler, said in a press release. Kelly is recovering at his home in Butler after learning on Friday that he tested positive for COVID-19.

CDBG provides annual grants for communities across the country.

Casey said the funding uses include shelter for homeless people, affordable housing programs, infrastructure projects and maintaining public services.

This initial funding will be provided to jurisdictions that received CDBG for the fiscal year 2020. There will be additional CDBG funding, Casey said.

“The staff will be working diligently with what means we have,” Fiscus said. “We just don’t have a concrete plan yet.”

Follow Melissa Klaric on Twitter and Facebook @HeraldKlaric, email: mklaric@sharonherald.com