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Berwick nonprofits get COVID-19 relief money

American Rescue plan cash will provide some exciting upgrades in the Berwick area

BERWICK, Pa. — Berwick officials gave out nearly $1.5 million in COVID-19 relief money this week to some nonprofit organizations. It's part of the American Rescue Plan which gives money to state and local governments in response to the pandemic.

The gymnasium is more than 100 years old at the Berwick Area YMCA. In fact, the Y is currently in the middle of a $4 million fundraising campaign to build a new gym.

"It's really going to go to construct a new gym, new parking, and expand our community health initiatives in our community. It's going to allow us to do a lot more of the social programs that are so important for the community," said Nick Pajovich, the CEO of the Berwick Area YMCA.

Earlier this week, the YMCA got $500,000 closer to its goal. Berwick borough council gave out nearly $1.5 million in federal COVID-19 relief money.

"One of the big things that borough council wanted to do was to reach out to the various local nonprofits and say, 'What are some of the things that you could use that we could manage to fit within the guidelines for this?'" said Damien Scoblink, the Berwick borough manager.

Berwick received $7.2 million from the federal stimulus package. Borough officials set aside nearly $2 million of that for nonprofits.

"All sorts of great stuff that I think is going to help Berwick take that next step forward and really just support an overall healthier lifestyle, not just physically but mentally, socially, emotionally for the people of Berwick," said Scoblink.

Some of the money will go to the McBride Memorial Library to replace its heating and air conditioning system.

A splash pad is being planned for the Ber Vaughn Pool. It's been a busy summer at the Ber Vaughn Pool, and officials here believe a splash pad is much needed.

As for the Berwick Area YMCA, the stimulus money is a big help in reaching its $4 million goal.

"We're close to $3 million now, and I think for the community and our staff, for the volunteers who are helping to raise the money, they can now see the end in sight, so it's a big deal," Pajovich said.

The borough also kept some money for its own projects, including a new street sweeper and software program.