The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) is a highly competitive economic development program that funds capital projects all over the Commonwealth. The program requires a substantial application, and Econsult Solutions has significant experience working with clients, especially on economic impact studies and job estimates that are part of the application process. Since 2014, ESI has assisted with 119 applications (including 15 this year), representing a total of over $112 million in RACP grants awarded to our clients to-date. The RACP grant not only funds projects that are large in scale, but also helps to fund projects that have cultural and civic importance. Due to the diversity of capital projects the RACP funds, the program is influential in spurring economic development across all counties in the Commonwealth.
Administered through the Commonwealth’s Office of the Budget, the program provides up to a 50 percent match for qualified construction expenditures for selected economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historic preservation projects. Application cycles are followed by a public comment period during which community groups and other stakeholders have an opportunity to voice their support for projects. With applicant information being publicly available, we were able to analyze where these projects are located and how much each project is requesting in grant funding.
In this cycle, a total of 596 applications across 57 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties were submitted, representing more than $2 billion in requested RACP funding. These projects range in scale from just over $1 million to upwards of $50 million in total project investment. In the Greater Philadelphia 5-county region, submissions have increased, from 155 applications submitted in 2019 to 226 applications submitted in 2020. These applications will be evaluated on their economic impact (measured through job creation and retention, among other factors) as well as on the impacts to their local communities.
Figure: Number of RACP Applications by County
ESI works with applicants through all stages in the process – performing the economic impact analysis, writing narrative portions of the application, completing the required financing forms, and compiling all materials for the application. We work with developers, business owners, nonprofits, and public agencies to help each tell the full story of the positive change that they are making in their community and to the Commonwealth. Once awards are announced, we are also available to manage grant compliance, taking the project through from the initial application to reimbursement.
At a time when many businesses and institutions are suffering due to the impacts of COVID-19 and the related economic downturn, RACP funds will provide much-needed support to recipients that are working to strengthen Pennsylvania’s economy. With the comment period closing in mid-September, we can expect to see an announcement about award recipients later in the fall. With so many worthy projects, the Office of the Budget has a challenging task ahead. Stay tuned for a follow-up analysis on which projects were selected and where they are located.
As noted earlier, ESI has assisted over 100 clients with the RACP project application. Learn more about our capabilities by clicking here.
Julia Cohen is a Senior Analyst at Econsult Solutions, Inc. with expertise in quantitative and spatial analysis. Prior to joining ESI, Ms. Cohen interned with ESI while completing a dual Master’s degree in City Planning and Historic Preservation at the University of Pennsylvania, with a concentration in community development and a certificate in spatial analysis.
Lily Ho is a Senior Analyst at Econsult Solutions, Inc. Ms. Ho brings to ESI a background in data visualization, cartographic design, and spatial analysis. Prior to ESI, she worked as a project associate at American Communities Trust (ACT), a Baltimore based non-profit that works with partners to create inclusive economic development projects.