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Money sought for Pa. theater

January 29, 2001

Money sought for Pa. theater



By STACEY DANZUSO / Staff Writer, Chambersburg


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Chambersburg organizations lined up last week to request more than $400,000 in Small Cities Community Development Block Grants from the Chambersburg Borough Council.

The council has only $320,456 to dole out to local agencies and will decide at its Feb. 14 meeting how to allocate the money.

About 18 percent - $57,600 - is earmarked for administrative costs. Fifteen percent, or $48,000, must be spent on a public service. It can be either the expansion of an existing service or a new service, leaving only $215,000 for the eight agencies that have so far requested funds.

Paul Cullinane, president of Downtown Chambersburg, Inc., requested $104,000 at Wednesday's public hearing for four projects to upgrade the Capitol Theatre on South Main Street.

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The projects include replacing the air conditioning system, a cost of $29,250; removal of asbestos in the seven buildings contiguous to the Capitol Theatre, $25,000; water-proofing the north wall of the foundation of the theater, $15,000; and masonry repairs on the south auditorium wall, $21,200. An additional $13,000 for architects' fees and other costs was included in the request.

"In order to preserve the 1927 facility, our request this year is much higher in than the past," Cullinane said.

In other years, the council has awarded an average of $20,000 that has been used to upgrade the electrical system, masonry work, roof repairs and marquee repairs, Cullinane said.

Building Our Pride in Chambersburg has made the largest request for funds so far.

Bruce Swingler, executive director of BOPIC, asked for a total of $112,000 for programs and the acquisition of a new building. It already has $166,000 in earlier grants put aside for the new building.

Swingler said $25,000 would go to the summer nutrition program that serves more than 500 children from low- to middle-income families.

He asked for an additional $25,000 to assist with a new initiative that offers computer training to children after school. BOPIC kicked off the program this fall.

Swingler said the final $62,000 would satisfy the cost of buying a new building. BOPIC plans to purchase the ABC Advisors building on South Main Street from William Gindlesperger when he moves the company this year.

Council members praised Swingler, who was named BOPIC director in September, for breathing new life into the organization.

"The community really appreciates the job you are doing," said Councilman Scott Thomas.

Other requests included:

-- $70,000 for the borough housing rehabilitation program.

-- $27,500 to New Visions.

-- $40,000 to support Chambersburg Community Improvement Association programs, including an after school tutoring program and music lessons.

-- $15,000 for two Joyful Noise Production events. Scott Brown, a representative from the organization, said the money would fund a summer and a holiday party.

The group hosted the holiday party in Chambersburg this winter and the Safe Summer Project in Shippensburg, Pa., in the past. Both have been a success, Brown said.

However, because the group does not have non-profit status yet, Council President Bernard Washabaugh said Joyful Noise Productions would not be eligible for a grant. Council members suggested he approach an established non-profit to submit their request and work through them.

-- $20,300 for the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter. The money would buy a second truck for the agency, which has been an existence for six years.

"The biggest problem is when we get two calls for an animal injury we have to choose which one to go to, and the second one almost always dies," a representative said.

-- $9,000 to fund six sets of parenting classes hosted by ESCAPE Parent Child Center at the Chambersburg Housing Authority.

The council has two more public hearings Feb. 7 and 14 at 7 p.m. at Borough Hall. The Council will determine how to allocate the funds at its Feb. 14 meeting and encourages groups to submit their requests prior to then.

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