SHARON – Matt Diehl hopes a project his Sharon company is working on, that is being assisted by funding from the city, inspires others to invest in Sharon.
Diehl, vice president of Diehl Automotive, said the $250,000 from the city will assist with an HVAC project to create the most up-to-date Hyundai dealership in Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio. The company is knocking down the current Diehl Ford of Sharon building at 1300 E. State St. and has already demolished the neighboring office building at East State and Strawbridge Avenue. The company also owns Diehl Hyundai across the street.
The total cost of the project is between $5 million and $7.5 million.
“Being a part of a community that is willing to invest in us will inspire us to invest even more in the city’s initiatives and the community as a whole,” Diehl said.
Sharon City Council has approved spending $1.3 million in American Rescue Plan funds for development projects.
The money will also fund apartments with an indoor recreation center near Penn State Shenango, a destination with themed bars and restaurants, and a performing arts center.
“All funds support bigger projects,” City Manager Bob Fiscus said. “We are really focused on sustainable economic development and building up our local economy with the ARPA funds.”
Fiscus said that the checks will be going out to the businesses soon.
The ACTS theater group will receive $225,000 for a business expansion at its center, 40 S. Irvine Ave., Sharon.
Tom Perman, ACTS board president, said he anticipates that the funding will allow the group to finish renovations in the former Sacred Heart church to create a second performance space, seating more than 250 people.
ACTS is planning an October grand opening.
“Our new performing arts center will stimulate revitalization and economic development in the region,” Perman said. “The ARPA monies will allow us to provide continuous entertainment and educational programming for many years to come.”
The city of Sharon will also cut a check for $450,000 to Shenango LLC, which is a partnership of JCL Development and Hudson Companies, for student housing downtown at 297 Shenango Ave. in Sharon, near Penn State Shenango.
“Transforming this corridor from an industrial to high quality of life features that will include an indoor recreational facility along with 12 apartments has long been a goal of ours,” JCL Development CEO James Landino said.
Landino said JCL Development is excited to join forces with the Hudson Companies to build market-rate apartments near the campus.
Landino first envisioned creating student housing several years ago.
“To see it fully funded and ready for construction is awesome, and we thank the city leaders for believing in our vision for what downtown can look and feel like,” Landino said.
With the F.H. Buhl Club undergoing a major renovation, the city is issuing a $225,000 grant for HVAC improvements.
Phase one of the $7 million project is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year at the more-than-century-old nonprofit recreational center at East State Street and Pine Avenue.
“We believe that once our project is complete, we will play our part to bring people from the Shenango Valley to downtown Sharon,” said Jason Kmick, executive director of the Buhl Club.
A new business startup will also be awarded $150,000.
Nova Destinations, 23 Chestnut Ave., Sharon, is in the final stages of planning and will announce its full vision in the coming weeks, said Walt Novosel, owner of the Pulaski-based business.
Novosel referenced his grandfather, Walt, who established Walt’s Inn in the early ‘70s and his uncle Bill Novosel, who owned Billy’s Black and Gold bar and restaurant in Sharon.
“We’re excited to be able to use these funds to bring multiple unique, one-of-a-kind destinations to Sharon,” Walt Novosel said.
Fiscus said the city is looking at things differently.
“We want to make sure we remain goal-focused on growing a thriving city,” Fiscus said. “We want this money to make lasting change in the City of Sharon.”