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Requests for grants come rolling in

January 26, 1998

Requests for grants come rolling in

By JULIE E. GREENE

Staff Writer

Once again, the City of Hagerstown has gotten large funding requests for efforts to expand health care and homeownership in the Hub City.

More than 15 local agencies have applied for a total of $1.36 million in federal grants or loans through the city, according to funding applications filed by Tuesday's deadline.

Department of Community Development Manager George Andreve said he expects the city will receive about $2.5 million through the community development block grant program for the fiscal year starting July 1.

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An amount to be determined later will be budgeted for city projects such as the city's homeownership program.

The department will recommend to the city administrator which activities to provide funding for before the City Council holds a hearing on its budget in April, Andreve said.

The Washington County Health System has applied for $300,000 to expand the Potomac Street Community Health Center after a similar request failed last year.

The health center has outgrown its quarters at 239 N. Potomac St., said Tom Jimerfield, director of the system's community health outreach programs.

The request was put on the back burner last year because a definite location had not been selected, he said.

System officials are still looking at several buildings in the downtown area, including the basement of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center on West North Street, Jimerfield said.

If there isn't enough funding for the request in the upcoming budget year, Jimerfield said it could be split over two years.

The total project is expected to cost $3.78 million if the health center expands into the King Center, he said.

"There are problems with the site. We're not 100 percent committed to the site," Jimerfield said.

Jimerfield said fixing lead paint and asbestos would be costly, but would not release cost estimates for that work.

The health system will start a fund-raising campaign this year for the project and will apply for state hospital bond money, Jimerfield said.

Bond money applied for this spring won't be available until July 1, 1999, officials said.

Jimerfield wouldn't say how much money the health system would contribute to the project. The health system's annual budget is $114 million, according to the application.

The health center is a physicians' practice managed by the health system that treats patients with or without insurance, at times providing free health care, Jimerfield said.

Jimerfield said it's important to keep the center downtown for residents in the North Jonathan Street area, who have had difficulty accessing affordable health care.

Renovations would allow for nine exam rooms, a procedure room, physician offices, a lab, nursing stations, a dental suite, a waiting room, reception area, mental health counseling rooms, a conference room, administrative offices and space for records, according to the application.

Renovations also would be made for the Washington County Health Department Outreach Effort, which includes pregnancy counseling and testing, the application states.

The health center would employ 25 people with the possibility of more when other services are added, according to the application.

Another large funding request was from the Community Housing Resource Board to manage the Hagerstown Home Store at 21 E. Franklin St.

The board, at 12 S. Walnut St., asked for $183,376.

The Home Store will help promote and educate people about homeownership in an attempt to improve the city's homeownership rate, which is around 38 percent.

The store is expected to open in May in the city-owned Roslyn Building next to City Hall, Andreve said. The City Council has already approved a management agreement with the board.

The funding request would go toward $190,376 in operating funds for staff and programs, according to the application.

Staff would include a director who would work 25 hours a week, an administrative assistant, a housing finance counselor and a marketing outreach coordinator, according to the request.

The application states there will be $32,900 for marketing and promotion and $4,100 for workshops and educational programs.

The housing board holds workshops for first-time home buyers, landlords and tenants.

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