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Chambersburg Council allocates grant money

February 15, 2001

Chambersburg Council allocates grant money



By STACEY DANZUSO / Staff Writer, Chambersburg


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Despite a clear division on how to divvy up a quarter-million dollars to local organizations, Chambersburg Borough Council members approved the allocation of federal grants to seven groups Wednesday.

The top recipient was the borough Housing Rehabilitation Program, which received the full $70,000 it asked for.

Building Our Pride in Chambersburg was next with $54,000 for the acquisition of a new building, closely followed by Downtown Chambersburg, Inc., which will receive $52,000 for improvements to the Capitol Theatre.

Other recipients included:

-- Chambersburg Community Improvement Association, $42,000.

-- Chambersburg Hispanic Center, $20,000.

-- Franklin County Library System, $19,000.

-- ESCAPE Parent-Child Center, $6,000.

Eleven groups had requested more than $545,000 in Small Cities Community Development Block Grant funds, but there was only $263,000 available once council earmarked $57,600 for administrative costs.

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Only 15 percent, or $48,000, could go toward public service programs - either the expansion of existing services or a new service. The remaining $215,000 went to "bricks and mortar" requests, like a new building or renovations.

Most of the organizations received only a fraction of their requests, and four groups, New Vision, Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter, Financial Counseling Services and Family Health Services of South Central Pennsylvania, did not receive any funding.

The council voted on each organization, and several votes were divided 5-4, with the minority wanting more money to go to BOPIC and New Vision over Downtown Chambersburg, Inc., and CCIA.

"A week ago, it sounded like we were ready to support the rebirth of BOPIC. BOPIC isn't just a building," said Councilman Carl Helman, who pointed out BOPIC did not get any of the public service money for its summer nutrition program and computer program.

"They had to shut down the summer program early last year because of lack of funds."

The council voted 5-4 to approve using nearly the entire public service budget to fund CCIA's request. The remainder went to ESCAPE.

Council members agreed to see if there was anything they could do to receive more funding in the future and passed a resolution giving the developers of the proposed King's Grant senior housing complex until May 2 to come up with a suitable site for their project or forfeit the grant money it has received.

In a "gentlemen's agreement," the developers have received $50,000 in small cities grants each of the last two years to show good faith for the project, said council President Bernard Washabaugh.

Because the project has been dragging along, council members said they would like to transfer the money and reallocate it.

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