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New Hope Shelter asks Council for piece of block grant pie

February 16, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - The Waynesboro Borough Council on Wednesday held the first of two public hearings required as it distributes $166,806 in grant money.

Only one organization, New Hope Shelter, presented a request for community development block grant funds.

Russ Brezler, vice president of the shelter's board of directors, asked for $3,800 for two washing machines and dryers, $2,000 to fund half the cost of an electrical system upgrade and $1,490 to enhance the telephone system.

Last year, the council rejected the shelter's request for $3,000 to build a deck.

Instead, the lion's share of last year's $184,783 of CDBG funds went to street rehabilitation.

The decision on this year's request from the shelter should be made in March, said Ed Geubtner, a representative of Waynesboro's CDBG consultant, Mullin & Lonergan Associates.

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He explained that any approved projects should be started as soon as possible to protect the program from more cuts from the federal government.

Pennsylvania's Department of Community and Economic Development and the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development like to show Congress the money is needed and is being spent in a timely manner, said Geubtner.

"I guess this is as low as it's been (for Waynesboro). There have been cutbacks," he said.

Waynesboro receives funding each year as an "entitlement community." Many other municipalities in Franklin County, Pa., receive their CDBG funds from the county's allotment.

Geubtner said CDBG money can be spent to fund three areas: urgent need to address a recent disaster, the needs of low- to moderate-income residents and rehabilitation for areas designated as slums or blight.

The town center zone in Waynesboro, which encompasses Fairview Avenue to Clayton Avenue, and North Street to Second Street, was designated a "redevelopment area" a few years ago, making it eligible for the blight requirement, said Geubtner.

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