15 get money from hotel room tax in Franklin County

April 29, 2003|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - From a split rail fence for an 18th century fort to air conditioning for a summer stock theater, 15 projects were recommended Monday to receive grants from the more than $200,000 available through the Franklin County Hotel Room Tax Grant Program.

Projects from 15 nonprofit organizations and municipalities were selected out of the 40 applications submitted by last month's deadline. The recommendations were made by the county's Recreation and Open Space Advisory Committee, with final approval by the board of Franklin County Commissioners scheduled for May 27.

The 3 percent hotel room tax was put in place last year and collected $375,913, according to Phil Wolgemuth, a county planner. Of that amount, $221,037 was set aside for local projects, with the balance going to the Hershey Capital Region Tourist Bureau, which handles tourist promotion for a five-county region.


"All the grants that got five or more votes ... are recommended to the Franklin County Commissioners to receive grants," said Charles White, chairman of the nine-member committee. He said it was not easy picking the winners, but the 40 requests for funding totaled more than $700,000.

"We knew full well there were some outstanding requests we weren't going to get around to this year," said Herb Dolaway, vice chairman of the committee.

The committee separated the requests into three categories. Five were recommended to receive money for capital improvement projects, six organizations were earmarked to receive money to support special events and four groups got the nod for projects that were not easily defined within the other categories.

Under capital improvements, the Chambersburg Area Chamber of Commerce was recommended to receive $25,000 toward a proposed $3 million Chambersburg Heritage Center to encourage visitors to the region. The request had been for $25,000 over each of the next four years, but White said it and other groups wanting funds over several years will have to reapply each year.

WaynesboroFest in Waynesboro, Pa., received $10,000 toward funding for its triennial event during the week of the Fourth of July.

The Fort Loudon Historical Society fell into the "other" category, although its $22,000 request was to help build a split rail fence at the 207-acre State Historic Site of Fort Loudon.

Some of those whose projects were rejected, asked the committee to reconsider.

Chambers Fort Memorial Inc. asked for $19,100 to hire engineering and landscape experts to prepare a site design for its proposed veterans memorial plaza in Chambers Fort Park.

"To do a fund-raiser, we need to get a plan," said Allen Melius, a member of the group. The memorial honoring the Chambers family that founded the borough and veterans from all the nation's wars, would cost $350,000 or more, he said.

"It seems that the ones that were more recreation oriented fared less well than the ones that were historically or culturally oriented," said Waynesboro Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger. That borough's request for $25,000 to build a pavilion at the renovated Northside Pool did not make the cut.

Nevertheless, Hamberger complimented the committee for its work, saying he knew most of those who applied were going to go away unhappy.

"Now they know what Solomon felt like," he said after the meeting.

Grant recipients

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Franklin County Recreation and Open Space Advisory Committee granted the following amounts to county groups Monday:

Capital Improvements

  • Two Top Ruritan Club, $25,000 for capital improvements.

  • Kittochtinny Historical Society, $14,865 for improvements to the old Franklin County Jail.

  • Caledonia Theatre Co., $25,000 for air conditioning at the Totem Pole Playhouse.

  • Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce, $25,000 for the Chambersburg Heritage Center.

  • Fayetteville Athletic Association, $25,000 for "Field A" capital improvements.

Special Events

  • WaynesboroFest, $10,000 for WaynesboroFest and Summer Jubilee.

  • Renfrew Institute, $ 2,500 for jazz festival.

  • Cumberland Valley 21-Day Retreat Organization, $8,756 for Fourth of July celebration.

  • Chambersburg Area Council of the Arts, $8,925 for Celebrate the Arts at Old Market Day.

  • Mercersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, $5,187 for David King concert and Mercersburg Townfest.

  • Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce, $10,000 for Heritage Christmas.


  • Conococheague Institute, $12,500 for Frontier Forts exhibit.

  • Renfrew Museum and Park, $10,000 for John Bell pottery exhibit.

  • Fort Loudon Historical Society, $22,000 for Fort Loudon split rail fence and sign.

  • Mercersburg Historical Architectural Review Board, $5,000 for brochure reproduction.
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