Water groups in line for grants in Franklin County

January 30, 2004|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Not so long ago on cold winters nights, someone would have to drive or use a snowmobile to get to the Dry Run (Pa.) Water Association well, hauling cans of gas to keep the pumps running and the above-ground pipes from freezing.

"It was usually my husband, or one of the other volunteers" said Connie Gamble, the association's secretary-treasurer. "This year, as cold as it's been, we'd have been up there all the time."

The 80 homes on the water system have benefited in recent years from Community Development Block Grant funds to upgrade its water system with a new well, underground pipes and a storage tank. The association asked for $400,000 this year.


The Franklin County Planning Office Thursday recommended the county Board of Commissioners approve $200,000 this year for system improvements, including a new water main. Senior Planner Sherri Clayton recommended the association get the other $200,000 next year to pay the full cost of the project.

The county received six requests totaling $1.3 million for $491,000 in available federal money for projects benefiting low- and moderate-income groups and the handicapped. As it has in recent years, the planning office recommended funding utility projects in small communities.

"The projects we're looking for are ones that make our small towns and villages more livable," Commissioner G. Warren Elliott said.

Improving or expanding water and sewer systems allows for more development in areas served by those utilities and "consumes less raw green space," he said.

The Indian Lake Camp Corp. water system serving the Metal Township community of Fannettsburg has about 40 customers, said corporation President Rachel Scofield. Each of the past three years, Indian Lake received $100,000 to upgrade its system with new lines and a water storage tank.

This year, it asked for $446,000 for new lines to alleviate low water pressure but was recommended to receive $200,000. Clayton said the balance for the project should be allocated from the grant program in 2005 and 2006.

Orrstown (Pa.) Borough Authority is recommended to receive $56,026 for modern fire hydrants to serve its 336 residents, Authority President Jack Sease said. Modernizing the system is a key to reaching regional agreements with water authorities such as Shippensburg, Pa., from which Orrstown buys its water, he said.

A $390,000 request from the Mont Alto (Pa.) Authority for water line replacements and extension of the system into a portion of Quincy Township was not recommended for funding this year because previous grants for the project have not been spent, Clayton said.

Community First Fund, a small business counseling and lending service for low-income residents, was not recommended to receive $20,000 it requested to open an office in the county.

The Chambersburg YMCA asked for $12,899 to install a handicapped accessible lift, but Clayton said it could apply to Chambersburg, which receives its own block grant funds.

The Board of Commissioners will make a final decision on the grants after a Feb. 12 public hearing.

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