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Franklin County projects supported from block grants

February 14, 2005|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - With one of four recommended projects no longer eligible, two of the others were approved for additional Community Development Block Grant funding Thursday by the Franklin County Board of Commissioners.

Valleys' Medical Center in Dry Run, Pa., had been recommended to receive $121,000, primarily for improvements to a Head Start center in the building.

"The county was notified the Head Start center is planning to leave the building because of bus routes and is not going to renew its lease after this year," said Dan Wolfe, the county's planning program manager. Because bus trips were too long to and from the center, Wolfe said Head Start plans to find a site closer to the Fort Loudon, Pa., area.

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As a result, the Indian Lake Camp Corp. in Fannettsburg, Pa., had its 2005 funding increased from $53,000 to $123,000 for a water project and Mercersburg, Pa., will get $124,895 for curb and sidewalk replacement on Fayette Street between Seminary and Main streets.

The third recipient is the Dry Run Water Association, which is recommended to receive $142,974 to complete a three-year water project.

The projects still have to get final approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, which distributes the federal funds. Both the Dry Run and Indian Lake projects received Community Development Block Grants for their projects last year, according to Wolfe.

The water association will use its funds to replace a portion of 4-inch water main with an 8-inch main and rebuild the road to its treatment plant, Wolfe said.

Indian Lake, which put in a water tank in the late 1990s, will be replacing 2-inch water lines in its distribution system with 4-inch lines to improve water pressure and flow, he said.

One of the criteria for qualifying for funding is that projects benefit mostly low- and moderate-income residents. More than 50 percent on those served by the Dry Run Water Association fit that category. The figure is 76 percent for the Indian Lake Project and 57 percent for Fayette Street, according to figures from the County Planning Department

"It's almost non-existent in some places," Mercersburg Borough Manager Arthur Speicher said of curb and sidewalks on Fayette Street. He said the additional funding will allow the project to be completed.

The county initially received eight requests totaling about $1.5 million for the $453,637 available this year. Wolfe said the block grant program was cut 10 percent because of the federal budget deficit and the county's allocation for this year was $50,000 less than it received in 2004.

"We're trying to make the smaller towns and villages more livable," Commissioner G. Warren Elliott said of the county's emphasis on funding water and sewer projects in recent years. "If you already have the infrastructure in place it should, in some measure, reduce the demand to develop raw green space."

On Tuesday, the board will be allocating about $150,000 from the Franklin County Housing Trust Fund for more projects aimed at assisting those with low or moderate incomes purchase or maintain their housing.

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