U.S. Department of Commerce Invests to Repurpose Historic Building in Venango County, Pennsylvania, Opportunity Zone
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.5 million grant to Venango County Economic Development Authority of Franklin, Pennsylvania, to renovate the third floor of the historic Oil City National Bank Building for use as a Business Innovation Center. The EDA grant, to be located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $1.5 million in state funds.
“The Trump Administration stands with communities that have been impacted by economic downturns,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “I look forward to seeing how the new Business Innovation Center will help spur new business growth in an Opportunity Zone in Oil City.”
“The Business Innovation Center will offer mixed-use office space featuring traditional tenant offices and flexible meeting and work areas that will optimize collaboration between entrepreneurs and new businesses,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Dr. John Fleming. “The project’s location in an Opportunity Zone will help attract the private investment needed to help revitalize the area.”
“Tax reform under the Trump Administration has allowed communities to leverage public and private investment in innovative ways to tackle revitalization in our community,” said Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-15). “Renovating the Oil City National Bank Building into a Business Innovation Center is a smart investment that will stimulate economic growth and provide a new venue to foster the spirit of entrepreneurship, which will have a positive impact on the future of the Oil Region.”
The funding announced today goes to one of Pennsylvania’s 300 Opportunity Zones. Created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones are spurring economic development in economically-distressed communities nationwide. In June 2019, EDA added Opportunity Zones as an Investment Priority, which increases the number of catalytic Opportunity Zone-related projects that EDA can fund to fuel greater public investment in these areas. To learn more about the Commerce Department’s work in Opportunity Zones, please visit EDA’s Opportunity Zones webpage. To learn more about the Opportunity Zone program, see the Treasury Department resources page here.
This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Northwest Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission (NWPARDC). EDA funds the NWPARDC to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.
About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.