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Agencies will get last chance to make pitch for share of money

February 18, 2002

Agencies will get last chance to make pitch for share of money



By STACEY DANZUSO
chbbureau@innernet.net


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Local agencies will have one more chance to make their pitch to the Chambersburg Borough Council for a piece of more than $262,000 of federal grant money it will award later this month.

The council will hold its final public hearing Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. at Chambersburg Borough Hall.

So far, a dozen groups have asked for nearly three times as much as is available for projects ranging from handicapped-accessible sidewalks to parent education classes.

The borough will receive $319,785 in a Small Cities Community Development Block Grant from the Department of Community and Economic Development, slightly less than last year, said Borough Planner Gary Norris.

Of that, $57,560 is earmarked for administering the grant, and up to $47,900 can go to public service projects. The remainder can be used on bricks-and-mortar projects like construction, he said.

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Many of the organizations that requested money at the Feb. 12 hearing have applied for and received funds in past years.

Any grant recipient, however, must meet one of three federal objectives, Norris said. They include the prevention of slum or blight, satisfying an immediate health or safety need, or benefiting low- to moderate-income residents.

Norris has requested $175,000 for three borough projects, including a new program that would offer grants to rehabilitate rental units.

"Most rental properties were constructed in the 1940s or before," Norris said. "This would ameliorate the deterioration of properties."

However, Council President Bill McLaughlin and Vice President Carl Helman expressed immediate opposition to the program.

"The needs of our community are much greater than subsidizing the needs of rental property owners," McLaughlin said.

In addition to $100,000 for the rental rehabilitation project, Norris also asked for $50,000 for the owner-occupied housing rehabilitation program and $25,000 to continue a program that makes curbs and sidewalks in the borough handicapped-accessible.

Other groups that have already requested funds include:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> CIELO, the Coalition to Increase Education and Leadership Opportunities, asked for $55,000 to fund an administrative position. This new group includes representatives from Building our Pride in Chambersburg, the Chambersburg Hispanic Center and the Chambersburg Community Improvement Association.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> The Chambersburg Community Improvement Association asked for $23,270 for its after-school programs.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Building Our Pride in Chambersburg asked for $17,000 toward the educational component of its summer nutrition program.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Franklin County Legal Services requested $10,858 to help get the new service for low-income residents up and running.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Financial Counseling Services asked for a total of $43,000 for its Total Person Transitional Housing Program and building improvements.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> The ESCAPE Parent/Child Center asked for $70,000 to buy its own building and $11,222 to keep its parent education classes running, including four new ones that would target recovering alcoholics.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> The Chambersburg Hispanic Center asked for $122,924 for personnel and rent.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Leon Weiner & Associates, a Wilmington, Del.,-based group building a senior housing development on Norland Avenue, asked for $50,000. The borough awarded the firm $50,000 in 2000 and 2001 when it planned the construction for downtown Chambersburg. The revised project includes 52 units limited to residents earning no more than 60 percent of the area's median income.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> New Visions Inc. requested $53,815 to build a fire escape and a handicapped-accessible unisex bathroom.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Downtown Chambersburg Inc. requested $71,000 to upgrade the emergency lighting system and interior painting at the Capitol Theatre.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> The Franklin County Homeless Shelter requested $16,430 to develop a life-skills program for residents of the Chambersburg shelter.

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