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Groups look for share of the dough in Pa.

December 16, 2004|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - More than $500,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds will be allocated to Franklin County in 2005 and municipalities and public service organizations have about five weeks to submit applications for projects.

Representatives from the Bear Valley Water Association, the borough of Mercersburg, Helping Hands with Hearts Inc. and Building Our Pride In Chambersburg Inc. were among those attending a public meeting Wednesday with County Planning Office officials to hear details on next year's grant.

Dan Wolfe of the planning office said the county received $504,000 this year from the program, in which federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development are distributed to counties and qualifying municipalities through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

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Wolfe said the allocation for 2005 should again exceed $500,000.

In recent years, the planning office has recommended and the county Board of Commissioners has approved funding primarily for water and sewer projects, Wolfe said. The grants often do not cover the entire bill for a project, but help communities and organizations bear the costs.

This year the county approved funding for water system projects in the Dry Run, Pa., and Fannettsburg, Pa., areas, Wolfe said.

Bear Valley Water Authority Manager Robert John said the water system that serves about 4,000 connections in St. Thomas, Peters and Hamilton townships is looking for money to help with expansion of its water treatment plant from 500,000 to 1.5 million gallons a day.

"We're looking at probably around $5 million" for the project, which could also include some improvements to the distribution system, he said.

Since Nov. 15, a moratorium has halted new connections to the system unless a property had a building permit issued before that date, John said. Prior to that, there was a moratorium on new developments requiring municipal water service.

Thomas Clark of Fayetteville, Pa., the chairman of Helping Hands with Hearts, said his nonprofit organization was there to see about getting funding to further its work of renovating and repairing the homes of those in need of assistance.

Helping Hands, which is made up of retirees, gets referrals from area human service agencies and churches to help those with low or moderate incomes, the disabled and the elderly, he said.

Wolfe said his office has gotten inquiries about block grant funding for projects that include sewer line extensions in Mont Alto, Pa., and Metal Township, and sidewalk improvements in Mercersburg, Pa.

Municipalities and organizations have until Jan. 21 to submit applications to the planning office. The office will make its funding recommendations Jan. 27 and the county commissioners will hold a public hearing and vote on the recommendations Feb. 10.

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