Legislators Announce Two Projects Approved for State Grants

Reading, September 17, 2019  The Commonwealth Financing Authority approved $252,821 in grant funding through the Greenways, Trails, and Recreation Program to support recreation improvement efforts, according to Sen. Judy Schwank and Reps. Thomas Caltagirone and Mark Rozzi. 

The Commonwealth Financing Authority approved grants for:

  • Reading Skatepark Association, Skatepark Development, $90,000
  • Berks Nature, Rustic Park Pedestrian Bridge Installation, $162,821

“These state grant funds will allow Reading and Berks County to better address the recreational needs of area residents for many years to come,” Schwank said. “I’m glad that we have local groups taking initiative in pursuing these funds.”

“The approval of these funds is great news for Reading and the surrounding communities who will benefit from them,” Caltagirone said. “I commend all involved who worked hard to put together high-quality proposals for these competitive grant funds.” 

“These projects, especially the Skatepark, represent important investments not only in the present needs of our community, but for future generations,” Rozzi said. “Children and residents of the city of Reading and beyond will benefit from this new recreational outlet.” 

The Greenways, Trails, and Recreation Program is funded through the Act 13—Marcellus Shale Legacy Fund and is administered by the Commonwealth Financing Authority.


$84.6M State Investment to Help Reading Better Protect Environment, Create Jobs, Sen. Schwank, Reps. Caltagirone, Rozzi Declare

HARRISBURG, April 22, 2015 – The City of Reading will get a much needed boost in its ongoing efforts to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant, meet the terms of a federal order, and protect the quality of the Schuylkill River with the approval today of an $84.6 million investment by a state agency that’s dedicated to improving the quality of drinking water and local environments throughout Pennsylvania.

PENNVEST approved the low-interest loan during its meeting today. The $84.586 million decision will help the city upgrade its sewage treatment plant and help to resolve National Pollutant Discharge System violations.

The project will also create 140 construction jobs.

“We worked together to get this low-interest loan approved and it will be the residents of the City of Reading who will benefit from an upgraded and properly functioning treatment plant and a cleaner Schuylkill River,” Sen. Judy Schwank (D-Ruscombmanor Township) said. “Tens of thousands of people depend on the city’s treatment plant and need it to enjoy a better quality of life.”

“This vital state investment means Reading will be able to meet the federal order that is requiring the city to have a new treatment plant ready to go in less than three years,” Rep. Thomas Caltagirone (D-Reading) said. “More importantly, it will restore a quality service that is desperately needed.”

The U.S. Department of Justice amended the federal consent decree in February 2014 to give Reading the ability to rebuild the current plant on Fritz’s Island.

“We all live downstream,” said Rep. Mark Rozzi (D-Temple), “so we become better stewards of our local environment and we ensure the sustainability of the Schuylkill River and the Delaware Estuary with this critical state investment. The excellent work between local, state and federal governments is also saving millions of dollars for Reading as we move forward.”

The $84.6 million loan carries a one-percent interest rate and a 20 year repayment plan.

Among other things, the money will pay for the construction of a new pumping station, a primary clarifier distribution structure, the rehab of primary water clarifiers, and the conversion of aeration tanks.

PENNVEST approved a $10 million low-interest loan for the treatment plant project in April 2012.

Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority funding comes from a combination of state funds approved by voters, federal grants to PENNVEST from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and recycled loan repayments from previous PENNVEST funding awards.

Funds for the projects are disbursed after bills for work are paid and receipts are submitted to PENNVEST.


Schwank, Caltagirone: Reading Crime Summit Planned for January

READING, Dec. 10, 2012 – State Sen. Judy Schwank and Rep. Thomas Caltagirone announced today that the governor will join state and local officials to hold a crime summit in January in Reading.

Schwank and Caltagirone made the comments after a meeting with city and county officials today in Schwank’s offices on plans for the summit and discussions with the governor’s office and Reading businessman Albert Boscov.

Schwank, who arranged the meeting last week after Caltagirone approached her with similar concerns to hers about the need to bring more resources and services to assist the city to deal with crime, said the summit will take place on Jan. 18.

“It was clear this morning that everybody is on the same page,” Caltagirione said. “We’ve got to get this moving. We all understand the main issues that have to be addressed, and there a lot of people who need to be brought into the discussion to begin doing it.”

Mayor Vaughn Spencer, City Council President Francis Acosta, County Commissioner Kevin Barnhardt and District Attorney John T. Adams met with Schwank and Caltagirone at the legislators’ request.

“Reading is really in a difficult position,” Schwank said. “It must respond with a police bureau that has some 50 fewer officers than it had only a few years ago. It is a tremendous gap to close in a very challenging time both fiscally and in terms of crime, and we all understand that its impact is not limited to the city.”

She said the next step will be to bring key law enforcement and elected officials from the local, state and federal government, including the governor, together to develop a strategy to guide the effort.



Schwank, Caltagirone Announce State Grant to Berks Community Health Center

READING, April 30, 2012 — Berks Community Health Center has been selected to receive a Community Primary Care Challenge Grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, according to state Sen. Judy Schwank and state Rep. Thomas Caltagirone.

The $500,000 grant will increase access to primary health care services in Reading. This health center is expected to open in June at the site of Reading Hospital’s health dispensary at 838 Penn St.

“This significant grant will go a long way to provide enhanced accessibility to primary and preventative health services,” said Schwank (D-11th dist.). “I’m pleased that the state recognizes the importance of health centers. They are literally a lifeline for our most vulnerable citizens.”

“The Berks Community Health Center will also ease the burden on our emergency rooms, where many vulnerable citizens go when they have no other option,” said Caltagirone (D-127th dist.). “This state grant will benefit citizens and our health care providers alike, and I am grateful for the state support.”

The Community Primary Care Challenge Grant program was created to increase access to primary medical and dental services in areas that the federal government has designated as medically underserved.


Schwank, Caltagirone Announce State Funds for Reading Sewer Improvements

READING, April 25, 2012 — The City of Reading has received significant state funding toward a project that will improve the city’s sewer system, according to state Sen. Judy Schwank and state Rep. Thomas Caltagirone.

The $10 million low-interest loan, administered by the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST), will go toward the replacement of the existing force main and the installation of two metering chambers, several air release valve vaults, and other improvements at the site of pumping station.

The system’s hydraulically overloaded force main has resulted in numerous leaks and subsequent raw sewage discharge into the Schuylkill River. The replacement of the force main and other improvements will create an additional flow to the treatment plant, which will eliminate breakages, overloads to the sewer system, backups and raw sewage discharges.

“This project will not only improve the functionality of the sewer system but it will also keep pollutants out of our river,” Schwank said. “Citizens depend on our sewer systems to work properly and thanks to this funding award, the city can fix the problems and ensure that our system is working efficiently.”

“We are grateful for the state’s support with the completion of this important city project,” Caltagirone said. “In addition to improving the system, the project will create 50 jobs, which is always good news.”

Reading is under a federal consent decree to fix problems in the city’s sewer system, which serves more than 22,000 households in Reading and bulk customers in 13 other municipalities.