HERMITAGE — The city’s efforts to develop a town center have just gotten a $730,000 boost.
Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Financing Authority and the Multimodal Transportation Fund will provide funding for infrastructure improvements on the Shenango Valley Mall property.
“This funding is critical because it will ensure that the key infrastructure components are in place to support the planned Hermitage Town Center,” said state Rep. Mark Longietti, D-7, Hermitage.
Hermitage will use some of the funding to rebuild a roadway through the mall property to connect East State Street with North Hermitage Road, install a new red light and aligning the intersection of McConnell Road and Hermitage School District Drive.
In a joint press release, Longietti and state Sen. Michele Brooks, R-50, Jamestown, said the project will enable Hermitage to develop the mixed-use town center development included in the city’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan.
“This support will further our efforts to fully develop the Hermitage Town Center Project at the current site of the Shenango Valley Mall,” Brooks said.
The comprehensive plan, adopted in June, calls for a community gathering place, where Hermitage residents and visitors can gather and enjoy shopping, dining and entertainment, with opportunities for residential development in a walkable area. The mall property would also serve as a focal point of walking trails that radiate throughout the city and beyond.
Hermitage Manager Gary Hinkson said he appreciated the work by Brooks and Longietti to secure the grant funding, which will make the conversion of Shenango Valley Mall into a walkable town center, as indicated in the comprehensive plan.
He said city officials have been discussing plans with Akron, Ohio-based LRC Realty, which reached an agreement earlier this year to purchase the mall property from the McConnell family, which owned the mall property under the name GFM-23.
LRC Realty is examining the sales agreement and the property ahead of finalizing the purchase, Hinkson said.
“We’ve already had conversations with them,” he said. “But absolutely, once they finalize the sale and take possession of the property, we’ll be working closely together.”
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