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Grant money sought for housing rehabilitation

February 27, 1998

By DON AINES

Staff Writer, Chambersburg

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Housing rehabilitation is a program proposed for funding by Chambersburg in its 1998 Small Cities Community Development Block Grant program.

The borough wants $70,000 for the program, according to the allocation plan reviewed at a public hearing Wednesday night by borough Planner Gary Norris.

Norris said 39 homeowners are on the waiting list for a low-income, owner-occupied housing rehabilitation program. The program provides grants and loans for qualified homeowners and has helped pay to fix up about 50 houses over the past 18 months.

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According to Norris, the first $5,000 is an outright grant, with no-interest and low-interest loans available for more extensive renovations. He said the average renovation costs about $10,000.

The borough also is proposing $70,000 for the acquisition and demolition of vacant buildings. Norris said cleared lots in blighted neighborhoods would be donated or sold at nominal fees to a qualified organization to build new owner-occupied, low- to moderate-income housing.

One such group is Habitat for Humanity. According to Norris, that group wants $40,000 for the purchase of two lots on which to build homes.

The Borough Council will decide on March 17 how the $247,000 in federal block grant funds will be allocated. The requests reviewed Wednesday totaled $423,000, according to borough Secretary Tanya Mickey.

The planning and zoning commission has come up with its recommendations, which fall below all 12 funding requests.

The commission, for example, is proposing $63,800 for housing rehabilitation and $58,500 for building acquisition and demolition. It would cut Habitat's request to $25,400.

Other requests include:

* The borough recreation department wants $20,000 to make the recreation center more handicapped-accessible.

* Building Our Pride in Chambersburg Inc. is asking for $50,000 toward construction of a multipurpose building at the intersection of Hollywell Avenue and Industrial Drive.

* The Chambersburg Community Improvement Association wants $50,000 to expand its building at 566 S. Main St.

* Members of the Hispanic community want $15,000 to help establish a Hispanic-American Center in the borough, according to Mickey.

* New Visions, which serves adults with chronic mental illness, requested $40,500 to expand its building at 152 S. Second St.

* The First United Methodist Church is asking for $34,000 for a transitional housing program. The program would provide temporary housing for people no longer eligible to stay in the Franklin County Shelter for the Homeless.

* Downtown Chambersburg Inc. has requested $25,000 for the continuing renovation of the Capitol Theatre.

* The YMCA wants $8,600 for new programs.

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