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Nonprofit groups seek block grant funds

January 25, 1999|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

A request for $300,000 to help pay for a planned $2.1 million health clinic for downtown Hagerstown tops a list of private funding requests sent to Hagerstown city officials, according to city records.

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In all, 16 Hagerstown nonprofit organizations sent about $1 million worth of requests to the city, each asking for some of the city's annual Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding.

The requests included a $300,000 request from Washington County Health System Inc. to help pay for renovations to a building at 29 N. Prospect St. The group hopes to open a clinical health care office with nine exam rooms and a lab, according to the grant application.

The hospital is also seeking state funding for the clinic building's renovation.

Del. John Donoghue, D-Washington, said this week he will seek more than $870,000 for the clinic through legislation he plans to sponsor.

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The grant is being backed by the Maryland Hospital Association, which improves its chances of being passed by the Maryland General Assembly, Donoghue said.

One of the smaller requests, for $6,656, came from the Washington County Commission on Aging Inc. The money would partially fund a summer chore and yard work program, which will pay people to maintain the exteriors of elderly residents' homes, according to the grant application.

CDBG funds come from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Local governments decide who gets the money and how much each group receives.

Hagerstown's CDBG funding recommendations will be made in the city administrator's proposed budget, which is expected to go to City Council members March 31.

Council members will have the final say on who gets how much of the CDBG funds. The specific allotments will be spelled out in next fiscal year's budget.

Hagerstown is slated to receive $1,112,000 in CDBG funds to spend during fiscal year 2000, which runs from July 1, 1999, to June 30, 2000, according to George Andreve, manager of the city's Community Development department.

Andreve said the city's CDBG funds available for new projects will have about $600,000 in additional monies from income from housing rehabilitation loans.

Although the total CDBG funds available are more than the total requested by private groups it is likely that at least some of the requests will not be fully funded, Andreve said.

"They all won't get what they asked for," he said.

This is because the requests from private organizations will also compete with requests from several city departments.

Last year, city departments received about $600,000 from the available CDBG funds.

So far this year, the Engineering and Inspections Department has put in a $260,000 request to pay for improvements at the Fairgrounds, traffic signal upgrades and to make city sidewalks more handicapped friendly.

Andreve said additional city requests are expected and new projects could be added by the council at budget time.




related story: 14 groups ask for block grant funding

Staff Writer Laura Ernde also contributed to this story.

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