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$200,000 going to business development center in Hazleton

The money will continue the redevelopment of a blighted property into a place for business resources and incubation.

HAZLETON, Pa. — U.S. Sen. Bob Casey spoke to an audience of community leaders in Hazleton to announce $200,000 in federal funding to continue renovations to a blighted property-turned business hub on West Broad Street in the city.

"The important thing here is you can have an opportunity through this appropriations bill to direct dollars to a project that the community has identified. The community leaders come to us and make their case. And Hazleton did a really good job. And as I said, it's a very competitive process," said Sen. Casey.

The location now is home to The Hub and the Penn State Hazleton Launchbox, which both act as resources for members in the Hazleton area.

"This building is an incubator of community. In the front, we do activity; we promote the economic development and promotion of downtown Hazleton in terms of cultures and events. On this side, we will do the same but in terms of business," said Fermin Diaz, an instructor at Launchbox.

This money will go toward expansion upstairs.

"It will be very flexible, open space. We'll be doing some investigation into again, that light manufacturing incubator space so that entrepreneurs who are thinking about starting a business or building the concept, then we'll be able to come in almost like office space that they can use in some equipment. That's again geared and centered around that," explained Mary Malone, the president of the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce.

"You know that the future jobs need special skills, and we want to make sure that people get and the way that they get is practice and have free space where they can practice on software like robotics, light manufacturing. If you get a business idea that you want to patent, more 3D printing that we want to go upstairs," added Diaz.

To learn more about the opportunities in downtown Hazleton, click on this link to visit the Launchbox website.

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