Oil City Brewery Project Progresses as County Officially Announces Half-Million Dollar Grant

| January 12, 2018

FRANKLIN, Pa. – The County of Venango has officially announced a half-million dollar state grant that will be reinvested in the local business community for years to come through the creation of a Revolving Loan Fund.

The grant was originally announced by the state on January 4 and reported by exploreVenango.com

The first local project to receive a loan from the fund will be a new craft brewery in the historic Oil City National Bank building in Oil City. As the initial loan is repaid, the funds will once again become available for other entrepreneurs seeking funding for business start-ups or expansions within Venango County.

“A Revolving Loan Fund is a fantastic tool for economic development that provides local entrepreneurs access to capital in order to help spur local economic development and investment,” said Emily Lewis, Executive Director of the Venango County Economic Development Authority (VCEDA). “We are grateful to Governor Wolf and DCED for their investment in Venango County and the opportunity to create such a meaningful program for economic development.”

Lewis, will administer the Revolving Loan Fund as head of the county’s newly-created economic development authority.

The $500,000 grant award comes from Pennsylvania’s Keystone Communities Program, which is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). The Keystone Communities Program is designed to encourage the creation of partnerships between the public and private sectors in the community.

According to Venango County Commissioner Timothy S. Brooks, the Oil City Brewery project fits squarely into that mission, “The bank building is at the point where a public-private partnership is the most feasible way to rehabilitate the property and we are appreciative of the State providing funding to help bring that type of partnership to reality and further economic development in Venango County.”

The Oil City Brewery project began in May of 2017, when the Venango County Commissioners purchased the five-story historic Oil City National Bank Building in Oil City for $95,000.

The county purchased the property with the intention of creating a brew pub, restaurant, and associated banquet space on the first two floors, and developing the upper three floors as a high-tech business incubator. In August of 2017, the county contracted Design Lab Architects, of Boston, to help re-develop the property. Since undertaking the project, the county has now received a $500,000 grant award from Pennsylvania’s Keystone Communities Program, in addition to a $1 million grant award from Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Capital Assistance Program (RCAP) to assist in the re-development of the bank building. The county expects construction activity on both the Oil City Brewery and the Oil City Multimodal Hub to begin in 2018.

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