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Wolf awards $7 million to York County History Center, $5 million to York Academy

Jason Addy
York Dispatch

Gov. Tom Wolf returned to his old stomping grounds Friday, Dec. 22, to drop off $13 million in redevelopment grants for three York County projects.

The York County History Center received a $7 million grant through Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP). 

Gov. Tom Wolf announces numerous grants, including a $7 million grant to York County History Center during a press conference outside of the center at 147 W. Philadelphia St. in York City, Friday, Dec. 22, 2017. Dawn J. Sagert photo

That state funding will go toward the history center’s $20 million capital campaign to raise the necessary funds to “right-size” its properties and holdings into a centralized campus, said Joan Mummert, the organization’s president and CEO.

The $7 million grant will be used to match private donations to construct a 65,000-square-foot history campus stretching along the east bank of the Codorus Creek and North Pershing Avenue from West Philadelphia Street to West Gay Avenue. 

More:History Center raising millions for downtown campus

By "right-sizing” its assets, the York County History Center can increase its visitation   and help to create economic development for other businesses in the city, Mummert said. 

Mummert has projected the conversion of the former Met-Ed steam plant into a “highly desired, state-of-the-art museum, library and archive” will bring up to 15,000 new customers to York City. 

“This new influx of people will spill into our community restaurants, our shops and other cultural venues … enhancing businesses and sustaining jobs,” Mummert said. 

Wolf also announced a $500,000 grant to cover the costs of a study on how best to improve and restore the Codorus Creek as one of York’s main attractions. 

York Academy: The York Academy Regional Charter School scooped up a $5 million grant, which CEO Dennis Baughman said will help the school stick to the “rapid construction schedule” for its new high school on West Hamilton Avenue. 

More:Officials: York Academy expansion on schedule, under budget

The new school will cover 65,000 square feet and allow York Academy to accommodate students from kindergarten through high school graduation by 2022. 

York Academy officials plan to open the new school’s doors to eighth-grade students in August  and expand the facility by one grade each year, Baughman said.

The school will feature five “academic houses” for the five grade levels and will include a maker space, a gymnasium, a movie theater and art rooms, according to York Academy officials. 

Library system: Just days after losing $300,000 in the county’s 2018 budget, the York County Library System was awarded $1 million to upgrade Martin Library in York City, Kreutz Creek Library in Hellam Township and Kaltreider-Benfer Library in Red Lion.

York County’s three commissioners voted Wednesday, Dec. 20, to reduce the library system’s funding, despite nearly two dozens library supporters showing up to voice their opposition to the funding cut. 

More:County reduces library funding, expands drug treatment court

Standing outside the York County History Center, Wolf said he was especially proud to announce the grants in a community he and other have worked to improve for decades.

“I’m proud to do this anywhere around Pennsylvania, but I’m especially proud to do this here in York because this is personal for me,” Wolf said. “There’s real heart and real soul in everything we’re doing here.”