Economic Development
Lackawanna County Quick Facts
2020 Estimated Population: 215,896
Area: 473.8 square miles
Created: August 13, 1878, from a portion of Luzerne County

Lackawanna County offers very high quality of life at a lower cost than similar small and mid-sized cities. The region offers affordable housing, strong educational systems, reliable healthcare, and short commute times from safe communities along with abundant recreational and cultural activities.

Lackawanna County is a wonderful place in Northeastern Pennsylvania to live, work and play and is home to The Office! Lackawanna County offers many options for indoor and outdoor activities.  From our restaurants, bars, wineries, breweries, parks, trails, parades, festivals, and farmer’s market to our Triple-A team of the New York Yankees, ski resort, waterpark, concert venue, Broadway shows, golf courses and many other attractions, there is an activity for everyone to enjoy. #liveworkplaylackawannapa

Trends

  • The biggest trends in the County in the last five years are a major increase in big box warehouses and multi-family housing. Single-family subdivisions have drastically decreased with townhouse and loft apartments on the increase. This has shifted the major developments in the County from the rural areas to the city and valley.
  • Prior to the last five years, commercial square footage was around 300,000 sq ft. per year. In the past five years we are seeing 1 million square foot buildings on the rise.
  • I-81 Lehigh corridor is saturated
  • Large development along the Casey highway (Chewy, Amazon, Canpack)
  • Large medical provider investment – 3 new hospitals
  • Influx of remote workers - better quality of life – lower cost of living
Economic & Community Development Incentive Programs

SBA Fee Waiver Program
  • Lackawanna County implemented a Fee Waiver program that will reimburse fees incurred by qualified small businesses working with qualified lenders. This Program is targeted toward small businesses looking to grow in Lackawanna County and has been nationally recognized by the United States Small Business Administration.
  • Since 2013, there have been 123 business recipients
  • $1.3M awarded, $75.6M in total loans leveraged
  • Creating 627 jobs; retaining another 1,603 jobs
  • SBA Program Manual and Application
Business Improvement Grant Program
  • Lackawanna County established the Lackawanna County Business Improvement Grant Program to promote economic development and spur local economic growth by encouraging the private sector to pursue exterior façade improvements, purchase/install new equipment or improvements on an existing facility to accommodate the purchase/installation of new equipment leading to the creation or retention of vital full-time jobs in Lackawanna County.
  • Reimbursable up to $5,000, awarded on a 50/50 match basis
  • Since 2016, there have been 90 business recipients
  • $435,847 awarded, $1.5M in total project costs leveraged
Community Re-invest Program
    • Lackawanna County established the Community Re-invest Program to assist local agencies in the revitalization and improvement of neighborhoods and community services. The intent of this Grant is to provide funding for projects that will have a high impact on the local community, will strengthen community services, and improve quality of life. 
    • Eligible applicants include all Lackawanna County municipalities, municipal authorities, tax-exempt, charitable and educational organizations
    • Funds may be used to:
      • acquire and preserve open space resources;
      • acquire and construct greenways and trails;
      • acquire, develop, or rehabilitate outdoor recreational facilities;
      • improve or revitalize community services, infrastructure and/or quality of life.
    • Grants are reimbursable up to $5,000
    • Since 2013 there have been 331 recipients
    • $3.1 M awarded; $17.2 M in total project costs leveraged
LSA Grants (Local Share Account)
    • Local Share Account (LSA)-Monroe County funds were made available by the PA Race Horse Development and Gaming Act for the purpose of distributing the 2% of gross terminal revenues from Mount Airy Casino Resort. LSA funds may be used for economic development, community development and public interest projects.
    • Currently administering 59 grants totaling $3.5 million.
RACP (Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program)
      • 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.
      • Currently administering 16 grants totaling $18.7 million.

Keystone Opportunity Zone Program
    • Businesses that operate in KOZs/KOEZs are in line to receive significant state and local tax benefits. KOZs/KOEZs are virtually tax free zones that may result in substantial state and local tax savings, giving businesses more money to invest into business operations. KOZs reflect a true sense of partnership among state and local taxing bodies, school districts, economic development agencies and community-based organizations.
    • Current KOZ
    • Current Available Vacant Developed Ready to Build Parcels
      • 17 in Lackawanna County (6 KOZ, 11 KOEZ)
      • 21 sub lots (smaller lots within parcels)
      • 1,010.58 acres of KOZ/KOEZ land
    • Developed Occupied Parcels
      • 4 Occupied Parcels (Crystal Window and Door, Lackawanna Energy, N.P. Archbald, and SEOKOH)
      • 1 tenant in developed parcel (CHEWY)
LERTA (Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance Act)
    • Enable local taxing authorities to exempt improvements made to deteriorated property from property tax increase for a limited period of time.
    • From 2017 to today LERTA has expanded from 12 parcels in 4 municipalities to 41 parcels in 10 municipalities (Archbald, Covington, Dunmore, Jessup, Moosic, Moscow, Old Forge, Olyphant, Scranton, Taylor)
    • LERTAs
TIF (Tax Incremental Financing)
    • Tax increment financing (TIF) is a method of financing the public costs associated with a private development project.  Essentially, the property tax increases resulting from development are targeted to repay the public infrastructure investment required by a project. 
    • TIF provides a means of encouraging private investment in deteriorating areas by allowing local governments to use future property tax revenues to finance the current infrastructure costs needed to attract development.
    • Currently administering 1 TIF $3.8mil.
Brownfield County Wide Assessment Grant
    • Lackawanna County received an initial and successful Brownfield Grant in 2015 totaling $500,000 that impacted several identified properties and allowed these sites to be remediated or cleared and made available for reuse or purchase.
      • The City of Scranton was able to purchase a vacant, polluted property and is now developing this into a public downtown greenspace.
      • The Greater YMCA of Carbondale is now developing a former brownfield site for recreation, trail linkage, and parking.
      • The Scranton Lace Works gained a brownfield property that is now part of their development footprint.
    • In 2019, successfully applied for and awarded countywide inventory and assessment grant for $600k.
      • Presently Completed 9 Phase I Assessments, with several Phase II Assessments pending completion.
Act 137 – Affordable Housing Fund
    • Legislation authorizing an increase to the recording fees of deeds and mortgages to fund, support or enhance local affordable housing efforts.
      • First Time Homebuyer - assists moderate-income families and individuals with the purchase of their first home within Lackawanna County.
        • Provided $127,500 to Neighborworks NEPA to administer grants; assisted 15 FTHB in 2021.
        • Since 2013, assisted 44 FTHB, totaling over $400k, average investment
      • Provided $40,000 to Agency for Community EmPOWERment of NEPA's Weatherization programs to promote basic energy conservation by improving the homes of residents and reducing heating and fuel costs.
      • Provided $39,000 match for the ECHO (Elder Cottage Housing Opportunity) project.
        • Elder cottages are small, separate, manufactured residences that are temporarily placed in the side or rear yard of a host family, related by blood or marriage, for an older adult .
      • Provided $12k for the Beautiful Blocks initiative in Carbondale.
      • Land Development & Construction Fee Waiver Program
Land Bank - Established 2015
    • Fostering economic and community development by eliminating blight and returning vacant and abandoned properties to productive use.
    • Formalized Cooperation Agreements with 15 Municipalities and 9 School Districts in Lackawanna County
    • Placed approximately 220 formerly tax delinquent properties back on the tax rolls with a tax revenue value of an estimated $140,000. At the same time the Land Bank is eliminating blight by conveying these properties to responsible purchasers who will maintain them.
COVID Recovery Loan Program
    • The Program will provide loans up to $25,000 at 1% to Lackawanna County businesses adversely impacted by the COVID pandemic.  The term of the loans will be 36 months with a 3-month payment deferral.  The funding can be used for working capital to be used by the business for operations. Eligible uses include, but are not limited to, lease or mortgage payments, utility payments, payroll, and other operational expenses, the purchase of machinery, equipment or technology that will allow the business to expand its operations.

Partnering with PA CareerLink and their Workforce Training and Financial Assistance Programs

    • Lackawanna County Workforce Development Board

–The Lackawanna County Workforce Development Board (WDB) is a non-profit Board of businessmen and women and community leaders engaged in the promotion of economic development, planning, and over-sight of local training efforts under auspices of the Federal Workforce Innovations and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Heralding a system of collaboration and coordination of service provision, the WDB promotes the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's One-Stop Job Center concept, operating locally as the PA CareerLink® Lackawanna County.

    • PA CareerLink

–Located in the heart of downtown Scranton, PA CareerLink® Lackawanna County has been helping local career seekers to obtain meaningful employment for nearly the past 2 decades. Our workforce professionals are here to guide individuals through a variety of job search services with no cost to them at any time. They provide resume writing, interviewing assistance, and job search strategies that are up-to-date with the current job market. They also have specialized, on-site services for veterans and individuals with disabilities. If further assistance is needed, they can make referrals to outside agencies, as well. For job seekers who qualify, there are a variety of individualized programs available to help gain relevant skills sets for the local job market. These programs provide on-the-job training, tuition assistance, workforce readiness development with a GED support element, and much more!

–PA CareerLink® Lackawanna County is also dedicated to serving our local businesses. They have a Business Services Team (BST) that can help advertise and recruit for available positions. The BST can also provide you with labor market information, occupational outlook projections, and wage data to ensure your business stays competitive.




 

Administrative Contacts

Brenda N. Sacco
Director of Planning and Economic Development
Phone: 570-963-6830 Ext. 1376
Fax 570-963-7596
EmailContact Me

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Lackawanna County Department of Economic Development Highlights

Lackawanna County Economic Development Toolbox
CHAMBER AD

Wireless Technology Infrastructure Initiative

Our county-wide carrier-grade wireless network will reduce start-up and ongoing technology costs for businesses and will improve emergency management telecommunications. The project is entirely self-funded and cash flow positive. In today’s high-tech world, businesses demand sustainable, reliable, and redundant high-bandwidth data pipelines to survive. The Wireless Information Technology Infrastructure Initiative will position businesses with the data and telecommunication networks that they require to operate in Lackawanna County.

Small Business Administration Loan Fee Waiver Program

The country’s first SBA Loan Fee Waiver Program sponsored by Lackawanna County and designed to stimulate private sector job growth and economic development. Qualified businesses working with qualified lenders will receive a check from Lackawanna County in the amount of the SBA loan fees incurred.

Land Development and Construction Fee Waiver Program

A job-creation incentive program targeted toward businesses looking to expand or relocate operations in Lackawanna County. The County will reimburse a portion or all municipal fees and construction permit expenses for businesses creating ten permanent, full-time jobs in Lackawanna County within two-years of approval. Funding amount is dependent on jobs created, wages paid, the business’ industry, and total capital investment.

Business Improvement Grant

The Lackawanna County Commissioners established the Lackawanna County Business Improvement Grant Program to promote economic development and spur local economic growth by encouraging the private sector to pursue exterior façade improvements or purchase/install new equipment. This is a one-time grant and is reimbursable up to $5,000 and awarded on a 50/50 match basis.

On a yearly basis, Lackawanna County will allocate a determined amount for funds from the Department of Planning and Economic Development’s operating budget for a Business Improvement Grant Program to qualified businesses working within Lackawanna County.

Community Re-invest Program Manual and Application

The Lackawanna County Commissioners through the Community Re-invest Program assisting local agencies in the revitalization and improvement of neighborhoods and community services establish the INVESTING IN OUR FUTURE Grant.

The intent of this grant is to provide funding for projects that will have a high impact on the local community, will strengthen community services, and/or improve quality of life.
Current Programs Offered at CareerLink
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PA Career Link Lackawanna offers 50% wage reimbursements to offset training costs during the initial training period of new hires for qualified employers. PA Career Link Lackawanna also offers a full suite of human resources services including job postings, resume and candidate pre-screenings and coordinating interviews in their office.

Lackawanna County's Economic Development Partners
Job Fairs
Lackawanna County is uniting talent with opportunity through its annual Job Fair. This is a free service to Northeast Pennsylvania’s businesses and residents. Contact:

lackawannacountyjobfair@gmail.com

if you would like to participate in a future Job Fair.

Lackawanna County is partnering with local universities, businesses, and job-training partners to coordinate structured internship programs that will train and retain talented young professionals and reduce “brain Drain” in Northeast Pennsylvania.
ADDITIONAL PROGRAMS
Guaranteed Free Training Program (WEDNETPA)

Provides grants to eligible business to offer basic skills and information technology training for current staff. Employers may receive $450 per employee for basic skills training and $850 per employee for information technology training.

NEPA Business Finance Center

The NEPA Business Finance Center, through its pool of federal, state and local funds, provides low-interest loans to qualified small businesses. Interest rates range from 1% to 4% and are fixed throughout the term of the loan. The objective is to provide low-interest financing for businesses to cover a portion of the costs of land, building, machinery and equipment that will be used create/retain jobs.

MetroAction Small Business Loan Program

Metro Action offers micro loans (up to $75,000) at above market rates for small businesses that may not qualify for traditional bank financing. The Small Business Loan Program offers a technical assistance program to borrowers.