BETHLEHEM, Pa. -

 Four expanding Lehigh Valley companies are getting Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) financing totaling more than $6.1 million.

The four projects include a total investment of more than $23 million, which is the largest volume of PIDA-approved projects ever in a 30-day period for the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC), which worked closely with the four companies to get the financial assistance.

Hospital Central Services Cooperative, Inc., of Allentown is getting $2.25 million in funding. That money  is expected to help the company create 38 new jobs in addition to retaining 162 current employees.

Penn Sheet Metal of Lower Macungie Township, Lehigh County,  was awarded $975,000 for a project that will create eight new jobs and keep 20 current positions.

The Bug Company of Pennsylvania will receive $960,000 in capital that will create 41 new jobs in Lower Saucon Township, Northampton County.

Straight Arrow Products, Inc., of Bethlehem Township, Northampton County, was awarded $2 million for a project that will create 30 new jobs and retain 66 current employees.

"LVEDC's finance department is pleased to have worked with these four companies to make these projects happen," said Don Cunningham, LVEDC president and CEO, in a news release.

Hospital Central Services is a non-profit industrial laundry processing and linen service company serving more than 45 member hospitals primarily in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. The project the company is undertaking will consist of a 21,000-square-foot expansion to its existing industrial laundry in Allentown.

Penn Sheet Metal, a sheet metal products manufacturing company that caters to industrial, commercial and medical clients throughout the region, will acquire and expand the property it leases in Allentown. As a result of the project, the company will be better positioned to pursue a new market, which should incrementally increase the volume of its business over the next three years.

The Bug Company of Pennsylvania is acquiring the 47,500-square-foot former Lower Saucon Valley Elementary School in Hellertown to serve as the home for its family-owned animal nutrition company, which has its roots in live foods.

The company carries an entire line of organically home-grown insects including crickets, mealworms, superworms, waxworms and fruit flies as live meals for exotic household pets. The company's primary accounts include PetSmart, Pet Valu, Wild Birds Unlimited, Pet Supplies Plus, The Smithsonian as well as various zoos.

Straight Arrow Products, a cosmetic and beauty products manufacturer for the human and equine markets, is undertaking an 18,500 square-foot expansion project of an existing building in Forks Township to increase its manufacturing and warehouse space, to augment its current manufacturing capabilities in Bethlehem.

LVEDC worked with Lehigh's Economic Advancement Project (LEAP), the Governor's Action Team, the Allentown Economic Development Corp. and the City of Allentown on the Hospital Central Services financing;with LEAP on the Penn Sheet Metal project, and with Northampton County New Jobs Corp. on The Bug Company and Straight Arrow Products deals.

"We believe all four projects will pay handsome dividends for the Lehigh Valley's economy for many years to come," said John Kingsley, LVEDC vice president of finance. "These are the kind of companies we want to attract, retain and expand in our area.

"The Lehigh Valley continues to see sustained economic growth from existing companies who are positioning themselves for growth now and in the future," said Cunningham of LVEDC, a business and economic development agency that promotes and fosters economic prosperity in the Lehigh Valley.

The LVEDC finance department administers more than one dozen state and federal programs and assists companies with the approval process.

The PIDA program is considered Pennsylvania's flagship economic development lending program. PIDA can finance up to $2.25 million with a term up to 15 years.