Carrie Furnace site receives $2.3M grant for development to bring more film, TV projects to area

RANKIN, Pa. — A dream more than 10 years in the making is now closer to becoming a reality thanks to a $2.3 million state grant to the RIDC Southwestern Pennsylvania Growth Fund.

“We want to make it the entertainment center for southwestern Pennsylvania. That’s the goal,” said Dawn Keezer, Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Film Office.

The grant will be used for redevelopment work at the Carrie Furnace redevelopment site, the former brownfield next to the historic Carrie Blast Furnaces.

“The sound stages are planned. There will be six of them when it’s completed, but right now, we’ve got to get the first one up,” Keezer said.

For years, Keezer’s group has been working with the property owner to build six sound stages at Carrie Furnace. The goal? To bring more television and film projects to the region.

“Having it in the Mon Valley. Having it in a place surrounded by people who may want a job in the film industry. It’s a great location,” Keezer said.

Rankin Mayor Joelisa McDonald couldn’t agree more.

“Our town has been asleep for a really, really long time and we’re finally waking up,” McDonald said.

She said the redevelopment could be a huge opportunity for Rankin and put her small town in the spotlight.

“People are looking at us. People are starting to believe in our vision that we have for Rankin and I’m happy and I’m proud and hey, let’s just keep it going,” McDonald said.

The grant will cover mostly utility work at the site. The film office said it hopes to break ground on the first sound stage as early as this summer.

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