By: KDKA-TV News Staff

HARRISBURG (KDKA) – On Tuesday the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin announced that nearly $4 million in funding from the CARES Act to help communities struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“More than ever before, Pennsylvania’s communities are facing incredible challenges as they work to protect their residents and businesses from the devastating impacts of COVID-19,” Davin said. “The four projects receiving funding today will create new opportunities for their municipalities by providing critical funding, access to sought-after resources, and safe spaces for community use as we continue to mitigate this global pandemic.”

Locally, Greene County will receive $612,500 to create the Forgivable Advance For Small Business Assistance program which will provide forgivable grants and loans to county businesses that demonstrate job creation and retention for middle-to-low income workers.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, more than 1,300 businesses in Greene County have been impacted by the pandemic. Since April, 45 of those businesses have been forced to layoff workers and close their doors.

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More than $1.5 million will be provided to Fayette County to install and expand broadband coverage to the western half of the county.

The state says that much of the county’s workforce and students have struggled with remote work and schooling due to a lack of high-speed internet.

Those that do have access to high-speed internet have reported inadequate connection speeds and high costs for the service.

The Fayette County Broadband Initiative is planning to extend high-speed broadband lines in order to create hotspots to provide free broadband access in low-to-moderate income communities throughout the county.

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More information about these grants and programs can be provided on the Department of Community and Economic Development website.