Funding to aid Hickory VFD, Route 158 projects

Mar. 12—The Hickory Township Volunteer Fire Department will get a new rescue vehicle and a section of Route 158 in Wilmington Township and New Wilmington Borough will be refurbished with federal money.

According to a news release from U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly's office, communities in western Pennsylvania will benefit from $15.7 million in community project funding, including $4 million for volunteer fire departments and more than $1 million for police departments in Pennsylvania's 16th Congressional District. Kelly's district includes all of Lawrence, Mercer, Crawford, Butler and Erie counties and parts of Venango County.

Of that total, more than $2.8 million will go to the two Lawrence County entities.

The funding was included in four spending bills to fund the federal government through Sept. 30, 2024. Kelly voted in favor of the spending bills.

"It's so important to remember that every dollar that comes to Washington first comes out of a hardworking taxpayer's pocket. We selected these projects because they give taxpayers the greatest return on their investment," Kelly said. "One of the biggest needs we have seen across Western Pennsylvania is more funding for our local volunteer fire departments. We are continuing to support true, physical infrastructure that makes our communities stronger and more vibrant places to live. I've been proud to deliver more than $33 million in community project funding over the last two years, on top of $46 million for two major BUILD Grants in Butler and Erie counties in 2020. We are delivering results for Western Pennsylvania."

A total of $2.5 million will go to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for the Route 18 project, called the SR 158/North Jefferson Street Restoration in New Wilmington.

The existing surface of SR 158, which serves as a corridor in Wilmington Township and New Wilmington Borough, is deteriorated and approaching the end of its usable life. The project will include milling and resurfacing of existing pavement surface alongside additional base repairs. The restorations will provide a safer, more efficient passage through the area while also improving drainage and pedestrian safety.

The Hickory Township volunteer Fire Department will receive $375,000 for a new squad/rescue vehicle to address the shortage of EMS personnel and the current ambulance wait time sometimes up to 40 minutes. The vehicle will allow the department to get to residences where a normal fire truck or ambulance cannot access.

Butler, Crawford, Erie and Mercer counties also will benefit from the funds for special projects, according to Kelly.