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Chambersburg property owners could secure grant money

March 14, 2001

Chambersburg property owners could secure grant money



By STACEY DANZUSO / Staff Writer, Chambersburg


Some Main Street property owners may be eligible for grant money to improve their building facades if the state approves a borough grant application.

The Chambersburg Borough Council gave its unanimous support Wednesday night to Downtown Chambersburg. Inc.'s request to submit the grant application to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development on behalf of the borough.

If the state approves the proposal, Downtown Chambersburg, Inc., will be in charge of administering $50,000 in matching grants, said Paul Cullinane, president of the organization.

Property owners can receive up to $2,000 in matching funds from the grant. If a project costs $4,000, the owner would be eligible for $2,000 in grants. If it costs $2,000, the owner would get $1,000.

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Property owners can receive an additional $500 for an awning or sign and $200 for architectural drawings, as the grant proposal is written. About $10,000 would be used to underwrite the costs of the program.

"It's a fair amount of work, but it's worth doing," Cullinane said. "Part of the fabric of downtown is appearance."

It will take two months before the state makes a decision on the application. If the state approves the grant, it would be another two to three months before the borough would see the funds.

Only property owners from King to Liberty streets on Main Street would be eligible for the grants.

"That is the primary business district," said Cullinane, who added that it could be extended a few blocks north or south.

Property owners will have to pay $100 to apply for the matching funds.

A design review committee will work with the property owners on their plans.

"We will have to work aggressively at marketing the program. Some communities find there is not a demand for the program," he said. "The question is if the property owner is willing to do that for the betterment of the street."

Cullinane said grants would be handed out on a first-come, first-served basis, and the committee would be hesitant to hand out more than one grant at a time to owners of multiple pieces of property.

"We would like to see one building finished before giving out money for the next. We don't want to tie up all the money with one owner," he said.

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