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First Industries Fund Investing $1.9 Million in New Tourism and Agriculture Projects.

Projects Will Boost Tourism and Agriculture in PA

HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Governor Edward G. Rendell today announced investments of more than $1.9 million to strengthen Pennsylvania's multi-billion dollar agriculture and tourism industries.

"Pennsylvania is investing in 11 projects that will help two critical components of our growing economy -- agriculture and tourism," Governor Rendell said. "Our resources are helping to create and retain more than 60 jobs."

The projects -- funded through the $150 million First Industries Fund, a vital grant and loan program in the Governor's Economic Stimulus Package -- include the renovation of an inn in Towanda, the construction of a cattle barn in Adams County and the purchase of a 121-acre Lancaster County farm. Since January, the fund has awarded money for 116 projects totaling more than $17.2 million.

The Tourism Program provides $50 million in grants, loans and loan guarantees for businesses and non-profit organizations engaged in tourism- related activities. Grants up to $250,000 are available to fund predevelopment and feasibility studies. Loans are available for costs associated with tourism-related projects, including historic, heritage, cultural, sporting, amusement, nature, outdoor recreational or retail destinations located in Pennsylvania; hospitality and restaurant establishments associated with those destinations; businesses that develop and market travel packages; and public/private partnerships formed to enhance or optimize the use of resources such as state-owned parks and state game lands. Applicants will also have access to loan guarantees up to $2.5 million or 50 percent of their outstanding project costs, whichever is less.

Agriculture is a $45 billion dollar industry in Pennsylvania and tourism contributes $23 billion to the state's economy.

The following projects were approved by the CFA through the Tourism component. FIF loans are provided through the Small Business First Program and/or the Machine & Equipment Loan Fund.

Bradford County

The Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development Commission will receive a $200,000 Small Business First loan to acquire and renovate the Williamston Inn, in Towanda Borough. The project site, located near the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, the Washington Rocks, the French Asylum and Pickering Winery, is in an area identified by the state for tourist trade development. Upgrades to the 3,000-square-foot restaurant/motel combination include painting, carpeting, electrical installation and the addition of a fireplace. The total cost of the project is estimated at $820,000 and will retain 17 jobs.

Elk County

The Progress Fund will receive a $93,920 Small Business First loan on behalf of Klaiber Kabins to purchase a fifth cabin in Wilcox and to renovate two other sites. The campsites are located adjacent to Bendigo State Park, East Branch Dam and the Clarion River. Vacationers and tourists stay at the sites to hunt, fish, hike, snowmobile and bike. The total cost of the project is approximately $234,000 adding two full-time jobs.

Jefferson County

The North Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission will receive a $108,000 Small Business First loan to purchase the seven-acre, four-building, Hominy Ridge Lodge & Cabins in Cooksburg. Located near the Clarion River in Cook Forest State Park, the site is a tourist attraction for fisherman, boaters, kayakers and hunters. The total project cost is $270,000 creating three new jobs.

Luzerne County

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance will receive a $165,000 Small Business First loan for renovations to the 89-room Gus Genetti Hotel & Restaurant in the City of Hazleton. The hotel is in close proximity to the Pocono Motor Speedway and the Bloomsburg State Fair, as well as other popular tourist sites for white water rafting, sky diving and an off-road adventure park. The project will convert 46 existing rooms into 21 one-or-two bedroom suites that will include living rooms and kitchens. The total cost of the project is estimated at $414,000 and will create 30 new jobs and retain four existing positions.

Potter County

The North Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning & Development Commission will receive a $200,000 Small Business First loan for the acquisition and renovation of the assets of Potato City Country Inn in Coudersport Borough. The 31-unit motel serves tourists visiting the Denton Hill Ski Resort, the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum, Cherry Springs State Park and Lyman Run State Park. The funds will be used to support motel operations including its full- service restaurant and bar. The total project cost is estimated at $530,000 and will retain six jobs.

The Agriculture Program provides $100 million for grants, loans and loan guarantees to businesses and non-profit organizations to undertake projects relating to the promotion and development of agriculture within Pennsylvania. Agriculture and agriculture-related projects include: production agriculture; agribusiness; the sale of farm commodities at wholesale; the sale of farm commodities at retail by urban and rural supermarkets located in underserved areas; farmers' markets; energy-related activities impacting production agriculture or agribusiness; and activities which implement best management practices related to agricultural waste, waste products and byproducts, or fertilizer. Grants up to $250,000 are available to fund predevelopment and feasibility studies. Loans up to $5,000,000 can be used for costs associated with agriculture and agriculture-related projects. Applicants will also have access to loan guarantees up to $2.5 million or 50 percent of their outstanding project costs, whichever is less.

The following projects were approved by the CFA through the Agriculture component. FIF loans are provided through the Small Business First Program and/or the Machine & Equipment Loan Fund (MELF).

Adams County

The Adams County Economic Development Corporation will receive a $200,000 Small Business First loan for Apple Valley Creamery to construct a new cattle barn, upgrade its existing bank barn, and purchase farm equipment. The 81-acre farm, located in East Berlin, will be able to process and sell its milk at retail. The project cost is estimated at $642,000 adding one full-time job.

Dauphin County

The Capital Region Economic Development Corporation will receive a $200,000 Small Business First loan for the construction of a 50-stall dairy facility at the Kauffman Farm in Lykens Township. The 68-acre farm currently grows corn and hay, but will expand into a dairy operation that will allow for both milking and storage on the property. The total project cost is approximately $504,000.

The Capital Region Economic Development Corporation will also receive loans totaling $289,100 ($200,000 SBF / $89,100 MELF) for the construction of a new, free-stall milking parlor, as well as the purchase of milking equipment and 30 cows, for the Weaver's Dairy Farm in Lykens Township. The farm suffered a fire earlier this year, and the Weavers are planning to rebuild their business that had been open since 1978. The total cost of this project is approximately $659,000.

Jefferson County

The North Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission will receive $78,400 to allow Thomas Sedlock to purchase 125 acres of the Sedlock Farm located in Brockway. The 250-acre, 87-cow dairy farm is being split into two parcels. The funds will allow the entire farm to stay in the Sedlock family. The total project cost is $196,000.

Lancaster County

The EDC Finance Corporation will receive a $200,000 Small Business First loan to build and renovate five broiler houses at Spring Maple Farm in Lancaster. It is estimated that the new facilities will allow the farm to produce an additional 300,000 chickens per year. The total project cost is approximately $506,000. The farm currently has two full time employees, and projects to add two more positions.

The EDC Finance Corporation will also receive a $200,000 Small Business First loan for the purchase of a 121-acre farm, located in East Donegal Township. The farm is primarily a poultry layer farm, with a total hen count of 100,000. It is also a steer producer, managing 350 head per year. The total project cost is approximately $731,000.

The First Industries Fund works with other stimulus programs that provide Pennsylvania businesses with the necessary tools to prosper, create jobs and impact the commonwealth's economy. Governor Rendell's Economic Stimulus Package targets $2.3 billion in public investments to leverage at least $5 billion worth of private sector investments in economic and community development projects.

The Commonwealth Financing Authority is a seven-member board, created to administer and fund projects from programs created by Governor Rendell's Economic Stimulus Package. The CFA oversees the First Industries Fund, Business in Our Sites, the Tax Increment Financing Guarantee (TIF), New PA Venture Capital Investment, New Pennsylvania Venture Guarantee, Building PA, PennWorks, and the and Second Stage Loan programs.

For guidelines and more information on the First Industries Fund and other economic stimulus programs, visit http://www.newpa.com/, or call 1-866-GO-NEWPA (1-866-466-3972).

The Rendell Administration is committed to creating a first-rate public education system, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and continuing economic investment to support our communities and businesses. To find out more about Governor Rendell's initiatives and to sign up for his weekly newsletter, visit his Web site at: http://www.governor.state.pa.us/.

CONTACT: Kate Philips, +1-717-783-1116, or Kevin Ortiz (DCED), +1-717-783-1132, both for Governor Edward G. Rendell

Web site: http://www.state.pa.us/ http://www.governor.state.pa.us/
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