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Nonprofits should getaid from other groups

April 18, 2002

The biggest losers locally in the Maryland General Assembly's 2001 session were the nonprofit organizations whose bond bills were casualties of a tight budget year. If these Washington County groups get some help some help from other agencies, however, they should be able to keep providing service until the legislature can help.

This year local jurisdictions applied for $80 million worth of these grants, also known as bond bills. In most years, about $22 million worth of them get approved.

But in March, the Maryland Senate's Budget and Taxation Committee cited slumping revenues and said the program might face the ax. Now the ax has fallen, hitting five local agencies that had hoped to proceed with major projects this year.

The include: -

- Girls, Inc., which wanted a $1 million gym for its Washington Avenue center,

- Boys and Girls Club, which hoped to build a gym at its Noland Village site,

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- Associated Builders & Contractors, which wants to renovate the old Hagerstown Armory into an apprentice-training center,

- Washington County's Red Cross, which wants to build a new headquarters on Eastern Boulevard, and

- Hagerstown Model Railroad Museum, which sought $50,000 to restore the old train station in Sharpsburg.

Lawmakers have said these requests will be at the top of the list next year, barring another economic downturn.

But in the meantime, there's no bar to some agencies sharing what they've got. The Hagerstown YMCA, which got state grants and local dollars for its new building, should be eager to work with Girls, Inc. and the Boys and Girls Club.

And given its need for citizens with improved job skills, the City of Hagerstown should be anxious to help ABC obtain a block grant for its training center.

You get the idea - those who can assisting those in need. In the process they might discover that helping out helps bring everybody closer together.

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