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Budget cuts hurt nonprofits' projects

April 16, 2002|BY LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

Washington County nonprofits are being forced to delay their building projects after being shut out of the state budget this year.

Girls Inc. had hoped to start construction this summer on a new gym at its Washington Avenue center, but can't proceed without a $200,000 state grant, said Executive Director Maureen Grove.

After four years of fund-raising, including a $250,000 state grant in 1998, Girls Inc. is still short of its $1 million goal, she said.

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Likewise, the Boys and Girls Club is looking for other sources of money to jump-start its quest for a new gym at Noland Village now that a desired $100,000 state grant dried up, said Director Jim Deaner.

"It's a need out at Noland we've got to fulfill. The kids desperately need us out there," he said.

About 75 youngsters a day attend club-sponsored activities at the public housing complex's community center, but Deaner said he could reach an estimated 200 to 300 more with a larger facility.

Meanwhile, Associated Builders and Contractors of the Cumberland Valley will try to proceed with renovating the old Hagerstown Armory building in downtown Hagerstown despite being rejected for a $550,000 grant, said President Joan Warner.

"We're discouraged, of course, like everyone else. We're going to continue on. We're not going to let that stop us," she said.

ABC wants to use the building as a training center for the building trades.

American Red Cross of Washington County, which was denied a $300,000 state grant, still hopes to break ground on its new headquarters off Eastern Boulevard this fall, said Executive Director Julie Barr-Strasburg.

"We just have to get out of this building. It's just too cramped, too small," Barr-Strasburg said of the South Prospect Street headquarters.

If the grant had come through, the Red Cross could have begun construction this spring on a $2 million building.

As it stands, the nonprofit will still have to raise $500,000 by the end of the year to be able to proceed, she said.

All the nonprofits plan to reapply for state grants again next year through the state's bond bill program.

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