Redeveloping the community

Northampton Township Police Department and YMCA of Bucks County receive state grants from RACP

The future is bright: The YMCA of Bucks County was the recipient of $2 million, which will be used for an expansion of programming and overhaul of its Fairless Hills branch (rendering is pictured). Source: YMCA of Bucks County

Thanks to the advocacy of several state representatives, two local organizations recently received massive grants from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program to help fund major renovations.

The RACP is a Commonwealth grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational and historical improvement projects.

At the request of Rep. Wendi Thomas (R-Bucks) and Sen. Tommy Tomlinson (R-Bucks), the RACP awarded $1 million to Northampton Township to fund its new police headquarters. Meanwhile, the YMCA of Bucks County was the recipient of $2 million, which will be used for an expansion of programming and overhaul of its Fairless Hills branch – a project that garnered bipartisan support from Tomlinson and Sen. Steve Santarsiero (D-Bucks).

The Northampton police headquarters, located at 111 Township Road, officially opened its doors on Friday, Aug. 2, with local officers currently adapting to their new home-away-from-home. The township purchased the land from the municipal authority and obtained property from the Council Rock School District east of the building.

“I can say that we are very happy to have received the latest grant for $1 million. This is actually the second $1 million grant that we received for the building. The first was awarded last year with the help of state Sen. Tomlinson and then-state Rep. Scott Petri,” said Northampton Township Police Department Chief Michael B. Clark. “All of the officers are excited about the new building.”

Inside the space, the department can take advantage of a booking and processing center designed for maximum efficiency and safety of officers; an expanded evidence storage facility and evidence processing area; secure and separate interview rooms for custodial and non-custodial interviews for adults and juveniles; and a firearms training facility for mandatory training qualifications.

Additionally, there is a physical training area to be utilized for non-lethal force technique training; a community training room for the instruction of officers and citizens; and a Civilian Police Academy and civilian outreach program.

“This is a major step in helping the township defray the cost of the $8.9 million project, which will relieve pressure on local taxpayers,” said Thomas. “This headquarters will better serve our community and the officers who put so much on the line for our safety.”

Tomlinson shared a similar sentiment.

“This funding will go a long way to giving our officers improved facilities for doing their jobs, and it will create areas where civilians can learn techniques to help our police,” he said. “I deeply appreciate that the RACP board understood all this and agreed to help make this a reality.”

As for the YMCA of Bucks County, the $2 million grant (Tomlinson provided $1.5 million and Santarsiero provided the remaining $500,000) will be utilized to guarantee its five branches – Fairless Hills, Warminster, Doylestown, Newtown and Quakertown – continue to meet the needs of children, teens, adults and seniors of all socio-economic levels.

“We are so grateful to Gov. Tom Wolf, Sens. Tomlinson and Santarsiero, and state representatives from throughout Bucks County for their support,” said Zane Moore, president/CEO of the YMCA of Bucks County. “This grant will enable our Y to complete significant capital renovations, ensuring we can continue to positively impact the health and wellness of our community and provide programs that benefit special populations.”

Renovations, specifically at the Fairless Hills branch, located at 601 S. Oxford Valley Road, will improve many of the Y’s facilities, including upgraded and accessible locker rooms, expanded wellness/fitness spaces, additional studios and classrooms, and community gathering spaces.

“YMCA of Bucks County is a valuable community resource that I am pleased to support,” Tomlinson said. “These projects mean the Y can expand the health, recreation and educational services they already provide and offer more free community programs to benefit county residents including veterans, cancer survivors and individuals recovering from substance disorder.”

Santarsiero echoed his statement.

“I supported the RACP grant request because YMCA of Bucks County provides residents across our community the ability to grow as individuals and develop lasting connections with their neighbors,” he said. “This grant will allow the Y to expand upon the exceptional services our community has come to expect from Bucks YMCA staff and volunteers.”

In addition to the support of Sens. Tomlinson and Santarsiero, the following state representatives advocated for the Y’s grant request – Rep. Tina Davis, Rep. John Galloway, Rep. Frank Farry, Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, Rep. Wendi Thomas, Rep. Perry Warren, Rep. Meghan Schroeder and Rep. Wendy Ullman. ••

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com