Kosierowski lauds funding awarded to NEPA

Calls on legislature to do more with federal dollars

State Rep. Bridget M. Kosierowski joined Gov. Tom Wolf and Sen. Marty Flynn outside Café Rinaldi in Old Forge to highlight a total of $2.3 million in state grants awarded to Lackawanna County restaurants adversely affected by the pandemic.

Last year, the Wolf administration secured $145 million for the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program, and worked with counties and economic development partners to quickly send assistance to the hospitality industry. 

“Our service and hospitality industries have taken it harder than almost any other industry and borne the brunt of this pandemic,” said Kosierowski, D-Lackawanna. “The CHIRP program was a great step forward to helping people, helping families and helping local businesses keep the doors open. This was real help for real people who had spent the last year fighting to survive. The governor recognized that this funding would enable us to be better positioned here in NEPA, and across the commonwealth to bounce back faster and reach greater heights.”

According to Kosierowski, Lackawanna County received $2.37 million in CHIRP funding from the state, which local officials supplemented with $141,406 for a total of $2.52 million. CHIRP grants were received by 171 businesses, including a $25,000 grant for Café Rinaldi.

“These dollars, this investment, is imperative to paving a post-pandemic recovery that is successful for our service and hospitality industries,” Kosierowski said. “But our work mustn’t stop. We still need to do more for our workers, and for our communities now, utilizing the billions of federal dollars just sitting in a ‘rainy day fund.’ These are dollars that we could be smartly utilizing for additional investments in businesses, supporting families, making improvements to our public health infrastructure, and developing our workforce for a prosperous future.

“Without making smart investments that offer viable solutions and relief to so many who are still struggling, it’s all the more difficult to build a strong foundation with working people able to spend money in the community,” Kosierowski said. “As a result, the economy stalls and no one benefits. That’s why I feel it’s time the legislature come together, work with the governor, and use the federal dollars the way they were intended, to provide relief and rescue.”