Air Products sign generic

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – The Lehigh County Board of Commissioners advanced two subgrants to two Lehigh County employers during its Wednesday night meeting.

The Lehigh County Department of Community and Economic Development, in conjunction with Air Products Inc., applied for and received a grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania under the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, or RACP.

The grant will assist Air Products with the construction of its new global headquarters in Lower Macungie Township. The amount is up to $3 million.

"Air Products never threatened to move their headquarters," said Frank Kane, Lehigh County director of community and economic development. "They have been a good corporate citizen."

The second grant involved RACP funding for Evonik's redevelopment project, located at 7001 Hamilton Blvd. The amount is up to $2.5 million.

Evonik is a specialty chemical company with headquarters in Germany. The company website indicates that the Allentown office conducts research and development.

"These are state deals, negotiated by the state," added Kane. "These are not Lehigh County deals."

Kane's comments came after criticism of the bills from Commissioner Bob Elbich, who questioned why the companies would need the money.

RACP projects, according to the description on the state website, are "authorized in the Redevelopment Assistance section of a Capital Budget Itemization Act, have a regional or multi-jurisdictional impact, and generate substantial increases or maintain current levels of employment, tax revenues, or other measures of economic activity." 

Both bills were advanced on their first readings.

Other business

In other news, the legislative body named appointees to a new task force to focus on public health issues.

Commissioners Geoff Brace, Percy Dougherty and Elbich were named to the task force to "evaluate the feasibility of a public health bureau or public health services." Commissioner Jeffrey Dutt was named as an alternate.

On the bill's second and final reading, commissioners also extended the Lehigh County Industrial Development Authority's term of existence by 50 years from the date such an amendment is approved by the Department of State.

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