As part of the Fiscal Year 2004 appropriations bill, Gerlach presented the Phoenixville Area Economic Development Corporation (PAEDCO) with a check for $225,000 and the borough of Phoenixville with an additional check for $200,000.
The PAEDCO grant is earmarked for continued restoration of the Foundry building. The borough grant will be used to fund part of the PPG site's French Creek Parkway road system.
Gerlach said, when presenting the checks, that the Foundry building is a "wonderful centerpiece in revitalization." He referred to the federal investment in the two projects as "money that will be well-spent."
Praise for Gerlach's efforts on Capital Hill on behalf of Phoenixville was on everyone's lips at the ceremony.
PAEDCO Project Director Barbara Cohen spoke about the former state senator's assistance on a snowy day in 1994 with the mural project at Main and Bridge streets. "Jim's service to the community as a public official is undisputed," said Cohen.
Gerlach responded, "You take an opportunity when you are down in Washington, D.C. to let your leadership hear which projects are important to this district."
Councilman John Messina also praised the representative. "As usual, Congressman Gerlach comes through for Phoenixville again," said Messina. "He has come through on everything I've ever asked for."
PPG's John MacPhee said that he expects borough council to use the grant for improvements to the Starr and Bridge streets intersection.
"The borough council will soon have the matter for action," said MacPhee.
When asked if the borough would use the grant as MacPhee desires, Council President Jim Lolli agreed that it would.
PPG hopes to soon break ground on the Gateway building, an office building at the former steel site.
"I'm hoping that a majority of the money will go toward the Bridge and Starr Street intersection in preparation for the Gateway Building," said Messina. "I don't see any problems and I think it's essential that the intersection is improved if there's going to be a 30,000-square-foot office building there."
Councilwoman Tish Jones called the grant presentation "just a beginning."
"To get things moving everything costs so much," said Jones. "We just have to start adding it up. It's certainly a positive and shows that Congress is working with communities to get things done."
It is expected that President Bush will sign into law the appropriations bill.