UPMC Announces Donation of Sunbury Facility to DRIVE

SUNBURY – UPMC, owner of the former hospital campus in Sunbury, announced today the donation of the building and facilities on the campus to DRIVE, an economic development entity serving five counties in the central Susquehanna region.

“When our facilities closed in Sunbury in 2020, UPMC began a thorough investigation into potential future uses for the property with the goal of transitioning the campus as an investment in the community so it could be utilized by others in the future,” said Steven Johnson, president, UPMC in North Central Pa. “Given their history with repurposing commercial facilities in the region, we were encouraged by DRIVE’s interest in the facility and their desire to use it for new job creation and economic development. Donating the facility to DRIVE turns the keys of this historic structure over to the community bringing new opportunity to the city.”

UPMC announced in December 2019 it would be closing UPMC Sunbury due to underutilization.  Following the successful donation and repurposing of the former Sunbury Textile Mill property, Sen. John Gordner (R-27), Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver (R-108) and Jennifer Wakeman, Executive Director of DRIVE, engaged with Steve Johnson and the team at UPMC to determine the best outcome for the hospital and surrounding properties.    

“UPMC Sunbury, formerly the Sunbury Community Hospital, served Sunbury and surrounding communities well for decades. We all knew it could continue to be an asset for the region, but it was going to take a unique approach to find new, innovative uses for this complex.  Given its experience in revitalizing potential economic development sites, DRIVE seemed like the perfect choice for UPMC,” said Sen. Gordner.  

“I, along with Rep. Culver, were pleased to work with Steve and the team at UPMC as well as DRIVE to make this announcement today.  It allows the flexibility that is needed to make sure that the hospital and surrounding properties do not become eyesores, but find a new purpose to benefit the community,” said Sen. Gordner.

“Projects like Sunbury Hospital are a key component of DRIVE’s mission,” said Executive Director Jennifer Wakeman. “Assembling a team of partners, as we did here, to breathe new life into buildings like these is at the core of DRIVE’s identity. This is who we are. It’s what we do.”


“While it was difficult to see the hospital close, we’re grateful that UPMC recognized the value of this property to our community,” said Rep. Culver. “With DRIVE taking ownership, working with partners in Sunbury and Northumberland County, it means that whatever new businesses or services locate here, they are ones that continue to support the needs of the community.” 

DRIVE has already fielded numerous inquiries from companies interested in all or part of the 20 parcels of land, totaling approximately 12 acres, that comprise this complex. “It seems unlikely that a single entity will want the entire hospital or all of its surrounding properties,” said Wakeman. “We’re open to leasing or selling portions of it if that’s what it takes.  Our goal is for this facility to continue to be an asset for the City of Sunbury and Northumberland County.”


Contacts:        Joshua Funk (Sen. Gordner) –  jfunk@pasen.gov

                        Scott Little (Rep. Culver) – slittle@pahousegop.com

                        Tyler Wagner (UPMC) – wagnert4@upmc.edu

About UPMC

A $24 billion health care provider and insurer, Pittsburgh-based UPMC is inventing new models of patient-centered, cost-effective, accountable care. The largest nongovernmental employer in Pennsylvania, UPMC integrates 92,000 employees, 40 hospitals, 800 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites, and a 4.1 million-member Insurance Services Division, the largest medical insurer in western Pennsylvania. In the most recent fiscal year, UPMC contributed $1.7 billion in benefits to its communities, including more care to the region’s most vulnerable citizens than any other health care institution, and paid more than $900 million in federal, state and local taxes. Working in close collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, UPMC shares its clinical, managerial and technological skills worldwide through its innovation and commercialization arm, UPMC Enterprises, and through UPMC International. U.S. News consistently ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside among the nation’s best hospitals in many specialties and ranks UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on its Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals. For more information, go to UPMC.com.

About Drive

DRIVE is an economic development council of governments serving Columbia, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, and Union Counties. Established in 2015, DRIVE provides professional staff for project development, business retention and expansion, and site selection services. It also serves as a forum for communication and coordination of economic development activity among its member counties.

State Legislators to Make Major Announcement Regarding the former UPMC Sunbury Campus

WHAT:     State Sen. John Gordner (R-27) and Rep. Lynda Culver (R-108) are hosting a news conference to make a major announcement related to the former UPMC Sunbury campus. The hospital officially closed in March 2020.

WHO:       Gordner and Culver will be joined by representatives from UPMC along with other dignitaries and invited guests.

WHEN:     Thursday, May 26 at 1 p.m.

WHERE:  350 N. 11th St., Sunbury (the former site of the hospital). News conference will be held outside the emergency room entrance. 

Media contact: Scott Little, 717.260.6137, slittle@pahousegop.com

Northumberland County Receives State Grant for Herndon Area Project

(HARRISBURG) – Northumberland County, in coordination with SEDA-Council of Governments, has been awarded a Community Development Block Grant in the amount of $1,518,812 through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), according to Senator John R. Gordner (R-27) and Representative Lynda Schlegel Culver (R-108). 

Specifically, the grant will assist the Herndon Borough Jackson Township Joint Municipal Authority to upgrade its water system.  The project calls for replacing 9,400 lineal feet of antiquated cast iron water main along Route 147.  This will allow the 213 users along the section to avoid the service interruptions that have plagued them, due to the age of the current lines.  It will also allow the water main to withstand the roadwork along Route 147 that is scheduled in 2024.

“I am pleased that Governor Tom Wolf and DCED have chosen to award this essential grant to Northumberland County,” said Senator Gordner.  “These funds will help to address a critical issue with the water supply for the residents in the affected area.”

“I want to recognize SEDA-COG and, specifically, Program Specialist Linda Sterling, for their efforts to support this important project,” said Representative Culver.  “The residents of Herndon and the immediate area will greatly benefit from it upon completion.”

CDBG grants are awarded through DCED for community facilities and infrastructure improvement projects. 

CONTACT:  Mike Stephens mstephens@pasen.gov


Media Advisory: Silk Mill Announcement

(HARRISBURG) –   There will be a special announcement at 3:30pm on Friday, April 22, 2022.  The event will be held at the Sunbury Textile Mill, 1150 Walnut Street Extension, Sunbury.

Senator John R. Gordner (R-27), Representative Lynda Schlegel Culver (R-108) and other dignitaries will be in attendance.

For media inquiries, please contact Mike Stephens at mstephens@pasen.gov.

Media Advisory: Selinsgrove Announcement

(HARRISBURG) –   There will be a special announcement at 2:30pm on Friday, April 22, 2022.  The event will be held at the Regional Engagement Center, 429 8th Street, Selinsgrove.

Senator John R. Gordner (R-27) and other dignitaries will be in attendance.

For media inquiries, please contact Mike Stephens at mstephens@pasen.gov.

Media Advisory: Parea Biosciences Announcement

(HARRISBURG) –   There will be an announcement at 1:00pm on Friday, April 22, 2022.  The event will be held at the Parea Biosciences facility, Northumberland County Drive, Coal Township.

Senator John R. Gordner (R-27), Representative Kurt A. Masser (R-107) and other dignitaries will be in attendance.

For media inquiries, please contact Mike Stephens at mstephens@pasen.gov.

Sunbury Receives Transportation Grant

(HARRISBURG) – The City of Sunbury has been awarded a grant in the amount of $800,000, according to Senator John R. Gordner (R-27) and Representative Lynda Schlegel Culver (R-108). 

Grant funds will help to update the streetscape on Market Street.  This work includes new sidewalks, new LED lighting and a new guide railing.  The concrete wall will be restored and the north side retaining wall will be replaced.  Finally, the intersection at 10th and Chestnut Streets will be altered to allow for added safety for pedestrians.

“I am pleased that Governor Tom Wolf and PennDOT have chosen to award these funds to Sunbury,” said Senator Gordner.  “I also want to congratulate city officials for putting together an important project and a successful application.”

“This project will enhance the safety for pedestrians and businesses in Sunbury,” said Representative Culver.  “I look forward to seeing and experiencing Market Street once the project has reached completion.”

The funds come from the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, which are passed through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

CONTACT:  Mike Stephens mstephens@pasen.gov

Luzerne County Senators Seek Answers on Late Mailing of Special Election Ballots

HARRISBURG – A group of state Senators representing Luzerne County are searching for an explanation why mail-in ballots were delayed in being sent to 300 voters in Tuesday’s special election to fill a vacant seat in the House of Representatives.

A recent Times Leader news article indicated that a total of 300 voters’ mail-in ballot information was not correctly uploaded by the Department of State so that they could be sent to the ballot vendor for printing and mailing to the voter, creating a significant delay in these voters receiving their ballots. Luzerne County election officials are seeking court approval to accept the mail-in ballots after Tuesday’s special election and attributed the delay to a technical issue with the Department of State.

Senators Lisa Baker (R-20), John Yudichak (R-14), David G. Argall (R-29) and John Gordner (R-27) issued a joint statement today seeking clarification on the source of the error:

“Effective election processes are essential to conducting a successful election, and to voter confidence in election results. Errors such as those reported within the Times Leader article undermine voters’ faith in our elections, and could prevent voters’ legitimate exercise of their right to vote. With these important considerations at stake, we and the public must understand how this could have occurred.

“Specifically, we are requesting additional information from election officials on the source and nature of the error, whether the requests were submitted to the Department of State in a timely manner, how the mistake is being corrected so the affected individuals can still exercise their right to vote, and what actions are being taken to prevent this from happening in the future.” 

CONTACT: Jason Thompson


Mount Carmel Area Public Library Receives State Grant

(HARRISBURG) – The Mount Carmel Area Public Library has been awarded a $59,000 grant through the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), according to Senator John R. Gordner (R-27) and Representative Kurt A. Masser (R-107). 

“I was very pleased to learn that the Mount Carmel Area Public Library was selected through a competitive process to receive this grant,” said Senator Gordner.  “The funds will help facilitate an enhanced experience for those citizens walking through the door.”

Grants can be used for eligible costs in planning, acquisition, construction, and rehabilitation of public libraries. Examples of fundable projects include, but are not limited to: ADA upgrades, roof improvements, replacement windows, energy efficient upgrades to HVAC systems, facility expansion and new construction.  The grant can be used to pay for up to 50% of an approved project.

The Keystone, Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund was established by the General Assembly in 1993.  PDE administers the public library portion of the program, which is funded from a portion of the state’s realty transfer tax.

CONTACT:  Mike Stephens  mstephens@pasen.gov

Senate Passes New Funding for Hospitals, Health Care Workers

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania General Assembly approved critical funding for hospitals and frontline health care workers who continue to keep Pennsylvanians safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Senator John R. Gordner (R-27).

As amended, House Bill 253 would allocate a total of $225 million to hospitals and their employees. The additional dollars will be allocated as follows:

  • $100 million for acute care general hospitals.
  • $110 million for critical access hospitals, facilities with a high volume of Medicaid patients, and behavioral/psychiatric providers.
  • $15 million for the PA Student Loan Relief for Nurses Program.

“A drastic increase in COVID cases over the last few months have caused hospitals to experience a critical level of patient needs,” said Senator Gordner.  “The most important people on the front line are the nurses that sacrifice every day to help care for critically ill patients in their care.  This bill will help to ensure that our hospitals can continue to provide an adequate level of care during this pandemic.”

“This pandemic has taken its toll on health care workers both personally and professionally, and as an organization we have worked diligently to help our employees through these unprecedented circumstances, said Janet Tomcavage, MSN, RN; Executive Vice President, Chief Nursing Executive, Geisinger.  “Health care workers need our collective support right now, and we’re grateful the General Assembly has recognized the incredible challenges they continue to experience now, two years into this deadly pandemic, by providing this assistance when our health care heroes need it most.”

Funds would be taken from a portion of the state’s share of the American Rescue Plan.  HB 253 requires the funding to be directed to retention and recruitment programs for front line nurses.  Executives, administrators, physicians and contracted staff would be ineligible for payments under the legislation.

CONTACT: Mike Stephens  mstephens@pasen.gov