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Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber of Commerce purchases downtown WB property

Jul. 19—WILKES-BARRE — Lindsay Griffin-Boylan, President and CEO of the Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber of Commerce and Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry, Wednesday said the future home of the Chamber will allow for the organization to have a community-accessible location in the heart of downtown Wilkes-Barre, where businesses, residents, and students can walk right in and get access to the programs, information, and resources that are available in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber of Commerce Wednesday announced the purchase of a downtown Wilkes-Barre property that will become its future home and community space.

The building is located at 35 East Northampton St., Wilkes-Barre, and contains 6,965-square-feet of space. The building has been unoccupied for several years, and, with this project, Griffin-Boylan said it will be fully renovated and will serve as the organization's physical location in the heart of the Wyoming Valley.

"The building will be a launching pad for the re-imagined, post-COVID, economic, and social revitalization of northeastern Pennsylvania, as part of Project Elevate," Griffin-Boylan said. "This accessible location will allow businesses and community members to gain access to resources in a collaborative setting, while also being a part of the revitalization efforts in downtown Wilkes-Barre."

The Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business & Industry, the economic development entity of the Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber of Commerce, received an FY22 Congressional Community Project Award in the amount of $1 million and $1 million more in RACP Awards. Griffin-Boylan said the Chamber is using this funding towards building renovation/construction costs relative to the physical location for Project Elevate.

"As a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee and Ranking Member of the Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee, I'm committed to bringing home every penny of our region's fair share of federal tax dollars to ensure our businesses are positioned to grow while creating good-paying jobs across Northeastern Pennsylvania," said U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Moosic. "Project Elevate will provide a unique ecosystem that builds a brighter future for area residents by launching new businesses, inspiring entrepreneurs, and growing our overall economy. I'm proud to support these efforts."

Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Rick Siger said strong local communities are critical to growing our economy and creating good-paying jobs, and he said the Shapiro Administration is excited about Project Elevate and the impact it will have on economic development in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

"Investments like this one — made in partnership with local organizations like the Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber of Commerce & Chamber of Business & Industry — will make Wilkes-Barre an even more attractive place to live, work, and visit," Siger said.

Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Wilkes-Barre, congratulated the Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber for its vision, hard work, and success in receiving the necessary funds to initiate their Project Elevate proposal.

"Their excellent forward-thinking project will enhance the entire Wilkes Barre business district and improve the quality of life for all," Pashinski said. "Congratulations."

Griffin-Boylan said Project Elevate will feature a unique and innovative ecosystem for sustainable workforce development, be a resource center for businesses & entrepreneurs, and function as a collaborative space for uniting individuals within the community to engage in a cross-sector problem-solving methodology to uplift the community and solve the most pressing issues facing our region.

"This project allows us to create a permanent home and location for not just our organization, but a space for the community to come together and to continue and grow our entrepreneurial, workforce, and regional efforts," Griffin-Boylan said. "We could not be more excited to start on the renovations and re-purpose this building into something positive for our area."

Griffin-Boylan said the Chamber's vision has always been to connect the community, build economic innovation, and elevate the quality of life in the region.

"And this building will be the physical presence of that vision in the heart of a community we are so passionate about," Griffin-Boylan said. "The support of our legislators has been absolutely critical to this project, and we are so thankful for what this funding will allow us to accomplish for our organization and community. Thank you to all those who supported this project and special thanks to our Project Elevate Committee, all of our board members, my team members, and community members who have assisted us."

Wilkes-Barre Mayor George Brown added, "The Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber of Commerce's dedication to Wilkes-Barre City is evident by its decision to revitalize an abandoned building, at the heart of the downtown, and make it into an accessible space to welcome developing small businesses and entrepreneurs and attract national companies to our region. The City has strengthened its relationship with the Chamber over the past few years, namely through the development of the Wilkes-Barre City financed SPARK program, which has created over 50 new businesses."

Don Brominski, Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Chair said the new building project "is truly an exciting time" to be a part of the Wyoming Valley Chamber.

"Project Elevate and the Chamber's new home on Northampton Street is the physical manifestation of everything that the Chamber is working toward revitalization, collaboration, workforce development, entrepreneurism, and economic development," Brominski said. "It's great to see that our local legislators recognize the commitment of the Chamber Team, led by Lindsay Griffin Boylan, to enhance the community by providing the funding for this project that will benefit the Greater Wyoming Valley for many years to come."

Carl J. Witkowski, Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business & Industry Board of Director Chair, said, "We are appreciative of the resources made available by our local, state, and federal legislators, enabling our Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber to maintain a physical presence in the heart of Wilkes-Barre, aiding the downtown's revitalization and will be leveraged to foster the area's economic growth by functioning as a community hub for partnerships and collaboration on workforce and business development."

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Reach Bill O'Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.