Thanks to a successful nomination by Sen. David Argall, R-29, the Alliance for Building Communities has captured a 2010 Commonwealth Award presented by PNC Bank and 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania.
The award, new for this year, is called the PNC Bank Leading the Way Award. The honor is intended to highlight affordable and special needs housing projects and community and economic development initiatives that positively impact lower income communities.
The ABC group captured the honor in large part for the restoration of the historic Tamaqua Boot and Shoe Factory on Hazle Street.
On Wednesday afternoon, Argall presented the award to ABC President and CEO Dennis Capozzolo and board chairman Joe Medl.
"I was honored to nominate the Alliance for Building Communities for the 2010 PNC Bank Leading the Way Award. With their affordable housing units, they make the dream of finding affordable homes a reality for so many individuals living on retirement or those with low-to-moderate incomes," said Argall.
Argall said the 14-unit industrial housing complex, which was formerly the Tamaqua Boot and Shoe Factory, "serves as a model for Pennsylvania. Projects like this have revitalized abandoned or neglected sites and transformed rural communities in our state. I am very pleased to hear that ABC is going to try to do at 420 E. Broad St. what they did at 401 Hazle."
The 401 Hazle project will take an abandoned building similar to the old Shoe Factory and turn the site, once called Liberty Hall, into affordable housing units.
Among the partners working on the transformation of the Tamaqua Shoe Factory site were development consultant Graysha Harris of GKH Properties, Tunkhannock, and architect Ralph Melone, Wilkes-Barre.
Argall cited the importance of teamwork, a key to ABC's success.
"They are breathing new life into our community. In addition to stimulating growth and development in Tamaqua, the Hazle Street Apartments are receiving the award because this project demonstrates the value of community partnerships. They are a great partner to the ongoing work in the Tamaqua area. Good partnerships among the public, private, and nonprofit sectors and a sound planning process that involves all stakeholders are key to many successful revitalization efforts and serve as a catalyst for growth. Once again, I am so very pleased to be standing here today to recognize the Alliance for Building Communities upon receiving this award.
The awards ceremony took place last month at the Hilton Harrisburg at an event called "Designing the Future, Celebrating Great Places and People in Pennsylvania."