Charleroi, PA, November 2, 2023 – The Mon Valley Alliance (MVA) hosted a groundbreaking ceremony today to celebrate the construction kickoff of a 6,485 square foot office building located at Second Street and McKean Avenue in Charleroi, PA.
Six years after the demolition of the former Atlas Warehouse building, the purchase of neighboring properties, and the demolition of existing structures, new construction will begin immediately in Downtown Charleroi. Today marks the beginning of a nearly $2,000,000 construction project that will serve as the gateway to Charleroi Borough and house PA CareerLink® services in a modern office building designed to serve the residents and employers in the Mon Valley Communities.
“This new development will transform property that once was in such poor condition that bricks were falling into the street to a newly constructed 6,485 square foot office building that will house important, and needed, workforce development services. Public support was a critical component of this project. The Alliance received a $350,000 grant from the Washinton County Local Share Account for site-preparation. Our public partners have made it possible for the Alliance to deliver a successful economic development project for Washington County,” said Jamie Colecchi, CEO of the Mon Valley Alliance.
The Alliance is joined today with its tenant for the entire building, the Washington Greene County Job Training Agency, Inc. (WGCJTA). WGCJTA serves as the staff and fiscal agent to the Southwest Corner Workforce Development Board (SCWDB). The PA CareerLink ® system is part of the SCWDB operations and offers frontline workforce services to jobseekers and employers.
The PA CareerLink ® will now offer services in a modern office building that is on the public transportation route. It houses numerous community and public partners to meet the needs of both job seekers and employers.
“The Southwest Corner Workforce Development Board is excited to be moving our PA CareerLink ® location into this community. We are here to serve the residents of all three of our counties and this new building will make our center more accessible to everyone in the Mon Valley,” said Ami Gatts, Director of the Southwest Corner Workforce Development Board.
The building was designed by Kulak-George Architects to seamlessly blend into the downtown corridor. The masonry street wall will be constructed to resemble a grouping of smaller individual buildings in harmony with the existing downtown streetscape. Onsite parking will be provided behind the fully ADA accessible building, making the building ideal for PA CareerLink ®.
The Atlas Warehouse was a blighted, condemned building acquired by the Charleroi School District, in 2011 due to years of unpaid taxes. In 2017, the MVA acquired the site under its Blight Remediation Program and Charleroi Borough committed $100,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds for the building’s demolition. In addition, the Washington County Local Share Account awarded the project a $350,000 grant. MVA used private funds to purchase neighboring property and demolish the existing structures. Combining public support with private investment made this project possible.
The project will increase economic output in Charleroi and the surrounding area and increase the property tax base for the Borough of Charleroi, Charleroi Area School District, and the County of Washington.
“We are thrilled with today’s announcement that this important project is now quickly moving forward, and the borough is impressed with the investment made in this part of town that will hopefully continue and inspire others in our community to take the same path,” said Larry Celaschi, Charleroi Borough Councilman.
In addition to the economic impact, the project will also serve the growing immigrant population as the one stop shop for workforce counseling, English as a Second Language classes, additional training, and financial counseling.
“This development is an example of a public-private partnership between the Charleroi Area School District, the Borough of Charleroi, Washington County, Mon Valley Alliance, and the Washington Greene County Job Training Agency. What was once a blighted property that posed a significant danger to the public will now be a new driver of economic investment in our district and become an important piece of our district working with our new immigrant population,” said Adele Hopkins, Board Vice President of the Charleroi Area School District.