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Franklin backing comprehensive plan with block grants

February 23, 2000|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Municipalities do not have to follow recommendations made in a comprehensive plan adopted by the Franklin County Board of Commissioners last year, but board members said Tuesday they will back up the plan with funding for compatible projects.

The board on Tuesday approved water projects in Dry Run and Orrstown, as well as a sewer expansion project in Mont Alto - all compatible with the comprehensive plan. They were selected to received Community Development Block Grant, or CDBG, funding and will have to be approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, which distributes the federal grants.

"I hope you're seeing today one means which we'll use to implement (the comprehensive plan)," Board Chairman G. Warren Elliott said after the projects were approved.

The community development plan for 2000-2003 the county will submit to the department sets out four priorities. Topping the list is funding projects that direct improvements and development toward existing communities, a major objective of the comprehensive plan.

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Specifically, the comprehensive plan recommends directing residential development to areas where water and sewer can be provided efficiently and to encourage development that is efficient in its use of land. The stated objectives are preserving farmland and making communities more livable.

Mont Alto will get the largest grant from the $456,000 the county received this year. A $194,000 grant will be used to complete a 300,000-gallon sludge storage tank for its sewage treatment plant.

The project will double the system's 150,000-gallon daily capacity, Borough Councilman Ed Nunemaker said.

"It will allow for additional development" in the borough, Nunemaker said.

County Planner Phil Wolgemuth said more than half the people to benefit from the project are in the low- to moderate-income category, a CDBG requirement.

Staat Stymiest, secretary of the Sewer Authority, said the project will be completed this summer.

The Dry Run Water Association will get $110,000 this year for a water storage tank. The $1 million water system project, which has received $105,000 in past grants, will benefit a population that is 63 percent low- and moderate-income, Wolgemuth said.

The Orrstown Borough Authority previously received $350,000 in CDBG grants. The $70,000 it was allocated will complete the new water system, which serves a population that is 57 percent low- and moderate-income, Wolgemuth said.

Authority President John Ferrell said the project has provided the borough with cleaner water at higher pressure. A new water storage tank will reduce frequent service interruptions, he said.

A $125,000 request from the Mont Alto Water Authority for water system improvements will not receive Community Development Block Grant funding this year. A $30,000 request from Mid-Atlantic Coalition for Housing Opportunities Inc. for an affordable housing project was also turned down, according to Elliott.

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