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Public-private partnership to tackle revitalization of York gymVoni B. Grimes Gym to get help from private business, state and city government

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Kevin Schreiber of the York County Economic Alliance spoke at a press conference Tuesday where officials shared details about a public-private partnership focused on revitalizing Voni B. Grimes Gym.
Kevin Schreiber of the York County Economic Alliance spoke at a press conference Tuesday where officials shared details about a public-private partnership focused on revitalizing Voni B. Grimes Gym. - (Photo / )

Facilities like York's Voni B. Grimes Gym "can be the heart of neighborhoods, and aren't just brick-and-mortar buildings," Jean Treuthart said.

Treuthart, who is the CEO of YWCA York, joined York City, state and private-sector officials at the Grimes center Tuesday morning to announce a joint funding effort aimed at revitalizing the 125 E. College Ave. facility and, in turn, boosting the York neighborhood that surrounds it.

The city-owned Grimes gym will receive $250,000 in the next year from a state program to help it fix the roof, replace the exterior and make other improvements at the center, the officials said in an outdoor news conference at the site.

The state money will come from five businesses, each of which is contributing $50,000 per year under a state program that aims to revitalize city neighborhoods, and receiving tax credits in return.

The businesses are Glatfelter Insurance Group, M&T Bank, Northwest Savings Bank, PeoplesBank and York Water Co., officials at the news conference said.

York's RSDC real-estate development firm will lead the renovation effort, with the nonprofit YWCA named as the agency to receive the funds through the state's "Neighborhood Partnership" program.

Various projects are funded annually by the partnership program. For next year, the Grimes Gym will receive the funds the businesses are contributing for their five-year effort, state officials said.

Helping the Grimes Gym and its neighborhood is "a long-term project. We're not just doing this for a few years, we're doing in for the next 50 years" or more, said Dylan Bauer, RSDC's president of development.

The funding is administered by the YWCA through a state tax-credit program that gives companies a tax credit for investing in projects like the Grimes Gym renovation, officials said.

"We can help with tax credits, but the real credit goes to the businesses that are investing in the community," state Secretary of Community and Economic Development Dennis Davin said in an interview after the press conference.

DCED is giving $187,500 a year in tax credits to the businesses providing the funds, department officials said.

York City also is contributing $200,000 to the project, the YWCA's Treuthart said. The YWCA receives up to 10 percent, or $25,000, of the yearly state funding to administer the project, she said.

York Mayor C. Kim Bracey told the three dozen officials and visitors at the news conference that the Grimes renovation is an example of projects that "can rebuild neighborhoods and create a sense of community."

RSDC's Bauer said his firm, which is now receiving funds for the third consecutive year from the DCED program, also plans to apply for future funding to help with other "aesthetic" changes to the Grimes Gym.

They include finishing the exterior renovations and making some inside improvements, he said.

In the first two years, RSDC used the funds to replace nearly a half-mile of city sidewalks in downtown York, Bauer said.

The Grimes gym is named for a former administrator of Penn State York who also was a co-founder of York County's parks department, Bauer noted. The gym site had been home to York Collegiate Institute, a forerunner of York College.

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David O'Connor

David O'Connor

Dave O'Connor covers York County, manufacturing, higher education, nonprofits, and workforce development. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at doconnor@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @DaveOC_CPBJ.

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