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Council delays awarding of grants

January 25, 2002

Council delays awarding of grants



By STACEY DANZUSO

chbbureau@innernet.net

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Borough Council postponed its decision on how to divvy up $80,000 of grant money to 10 groups that requested four times as much funding Wednesday night.

"I don't feel comfortable reacting now this evening," Councilman John Redding Jr. said.

Council members had been supposed to hear requests and allocate the money Wednesday night in order to give the recipients of the Small Cities Community Development Block Grant funds as much time as possible to use the money.

The money is being reallocated from the council's 1997 block grant awards because the original recipient, Building Our Pride in Chambersburg, will be unable to use it before the June 3 deadline.

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Community Development Block Grants are federal funds aimed at helping groups that serve low- or moderate-income people.

The rest of council agreed with Redding and decided to postpone making a decision until the next public meeting Feb. 12.

Of the $80,000, all can be used on bricks-and-mortar projects like renovations, and up to $6,780 can be used for public service programs like afterschool tutoring.

The groups requesting funds include:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> The Borough of Chambersburg, which requested $30,000 for wheelchair ramps and curb cuts at 20 intersections.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Natalie Newcomer, director of Financial Counseling Services, who requested a total of $38,000. Of that, $18,000 would go toward repairing the organization's office roof and refurbishing the bathroom. The remaining $20,000 would be for its Total Person Transitional Housing Program that helps homeless families.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Downtown Chambersburg Inc., which requested $29,000 for masonry repairs to the exterior of the south and west walls of the Capitol Theatre.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> The Chambersburg Hispanic American Center, which requested a total of $60,500 for a mix of public service and building projects. Of that, $6,500 would support its outreach programs and $54,000 would be used to expand the center by leasing a new site for three years. Borough Planner Gary Norris said, however, the funds could not be applied to a long-term lease because they must be spent by June 3.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Franklin County Legal Services, a new agency that aims to provide legal services to low- and moderate-income residents, which requested $2,000 to support its rent and salaries.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Corinna Barr, executive director of New Visions, Inc., who requested a total of $72,035 for three renovation projects at its facility that serves low-income residents with severe mental illness.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Family Health Services, which presented four proposals to support four different public service programs ranging from about $2,000 to $3,600.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> ESCAPE Parent/Child Center, which requested $6,600 to support its parent education classes that target parents at risk of abusing their children and $70,000 to help buy its own building.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> The Chambersburg Community Improvement Association, which requested $6,500 to support its afterschool tutoring programs.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Network Ministries Director Don Baker, who asked for $6,000 to fund a master gardener that would work with the organization's one-acre community garden program.

The council is to decide which groups will receive funding at its next meeting Feb. 12. That will be the council's first Tuesday night meeting after voting Wednesday to switch its meeting nights to Tuesday.

Council will conduct public hearings Feb. 12 and 26 for 2002 block grant requests.

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