Grant money aimed at downtown facades, streets

March 11, 2003|by RICHARD BELISLE

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - A public hearing will be held next week so the Waynesboro Borough Council can explain how it will spend its $197,000 share of Community Development Block Grant funds.

The hearing will be held March 19 at 7 p.m. in the council meeting room on the second floor of the Borough Hall.

The council wants the money spent in four specific areas:

  • $77,000 for housing rehabilitation for low- and moderate-income homeowners.

  • $50,000 for fixing up downtown building facades.

  • $40,000 for street repairs.

  • $5,500 for improving curbs for handicapped accessibility.

Administration costs will take up another $25,000, Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger said. Included are consultant fees, environmental reviews, reports and audits, he said.


The council in January denied two requests for block grant money.

One came from Councilman Ardie Winters, the borough's representative on the financially troubled Chambersburg Transit Authority, which provides free bus service for senior citizens in Waynesboro. He wanted money to help the ailing bus system.

New Hope Shelter Inc., a homeless shelter downtown, also was rejected when it asked for about $60,000 in block grant money.

CDBG rules say 70 percent of the funds must be spent on projects that benefit low- and moderate-income residents. The other 30 percent can be spent on projects to eliminate slums, blight and housing rehabilitation.

Hamberger said more than 30 single-family homes have been renovated in Waynesboro in the last decade. The council wants to resume the program this year after a two-year hiatus.

Public comments and suggestions will be taken at the hearing, but it's doubtful the council will change its mind on how it wants the money spent, Hamberger said.

"The die is cast," said Councilman John Cook.

In 2002, Waynesboro received $205,000 in CDBG funds, all of which went to street repair, handicapped accessibility and economic development projects.

This is the second consecutive year that the council has set aside $50,000 in block grant funds for downtown facade improvements.

A new council standing committee - downtown rehabilitation and finance - was appointed to create the facade program. Cook is chairman. It took the committee a year to issue its first report, which came out last week in the form of a draft policy and manual that applicants must follow in applying for grants.

Building owners are eligible for as much as $2,500 to pay for repairs and improvements to the exterior of their building fronts. They also can apply for an additional $500 for signs and awnings and up to $250 to hire architects who specialize in historic buildings.

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