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Chambersburg awards state grants

March 14, 2002|BY STACEY DANZUSO

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Under a new point system, the Chambersburg Borough Council was able to allocate block grant funds to every group that applied except one.

Eleven of 12 agencies received funding through the 2002 Small Cities Community Development Block Grant, possibly more than in any other year, city officials said.

"This is probably the most broad-based of allocations we have ever had," Council President Bill McLaughlin said.

A committee of council members and Borough Planner Gary Norris met Monday to rank the requests on a 100-point scale. Norris presented the list to the council Tuesday night with proposed allocations.

The new point system streamlined the process, allowing council to focus on how each group's plans would benefit the borough.

Any grant recipient must prevent a slum or blight, satisfy an immediate health or safety need or benefit low- to moderate-income residents.

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The council approved nearly all of the committee's recommendations.

The borough received $319,785 through the federal grant program, but $57,460 is earmarked for administration or project over-runs. Up to $47,900 can go to public service projects and the rest can be used on bricks-and-mortar projects like construction, Norris said.

Council awarded the most money to the borough for two bricks-and-mortar borough projects that would rehabilitate owner-occupied structures and make downtown sidewalks handicap accessible. Each program will receive $50,000.

Other recipients of bricks-and-mortar funding are:

- $25,000 to Leon Weiner & Associates, a Wilmington, Del.,-based group building a senior housing development on Norland Avenue.

- $38,500 to New Visions Inc., to build a fire escape and a handicap-accessible unisex bathroom.

- $15,000 to Downtown Chambersburg Inc., to upgrade the emergency lighting system at the Capitol Theatre.

- $20,000 to Financial Counseling Services for building improvements.

- $16,000 to ESCAPE Parent/Child Center toward the purchase of a new building.

The following received funds in the public service category:

- $24,000 to the Chambersburg Hispanic American Center.

- $10,000 to Building Our Pride in Chambersburg.

- $10,000 to Franklin County Legal Services.

- $3,900 to the Chambersburg Community Improvement Association.

Only the South Central Community Action Program's $1,700 request for two portable food stamp scanners was denied.

This year the council also voted to take $10,000 out of the administrative fund for CIELO, a new coalition forming between Building Our Pride in Chambersburg, the improvement center and the Hispanic center.

The Coalition to Increase Education and Leadership Opportunities had asked for $55,000 to fund a study that would get the umbrella organization up and running.

The only change in the committee's appropriations removed some of the proposed funding for the Chambersburg Community Improvement Association to beef up the grant awards to Franklin County Legal Service and the Hispanic center.

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