Williamsport, Washington County Free Library get grants

Appalachian Regional Commission awards $20,000 to town, $61,000 to library

September 08, 2011|By DAN DEARTH |

The town of Williamsport and the Washington County Free Library will be able to boost their public services thanks to thousands of dollars in grants awarded this week by the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Williamsport was awarded $20,000 to develop bike lanes, and the library was awarded $61,000 to replace 60 obsolete computers, according to a news release from the offices of U.S Sens. Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski, both D-Md.

The Allegany County Board of Education also received $50,000 from ARC to install broadband Internet.

Kathleen O'Connell, assistant director of the Washington County Free Library, said the grant will allow the library to increase the number of computers it has available from 12 to 60.

"We're really excited about it," O'Connell said. "We're very grateful. We had people waiting one hour, if not two, for computers."

The library at 100 S. Potomac St. in Hagerstown was closed for renovations in November. In the meantime, a temporary location has been set up on the first floor of the Susquehanna Bank on West Washington Street.

O'Connell said 40 of the Dell computers will be placed in the downstairs section of the library when it reopens, which is projected to be in late 2012 or early 2013.

Fifteen other computers will be placed in a public learning lab, and five will go in a teen area.

She said printers will be included in the package, but library officials were calculating how many they would need.

About 40,000 of the library's 340,000 annual visitors use the facility's computer services, O'Connell said.

Williamsport Town Clerk/Treasurer Donald L. Stotelmyer said the town council likely will vote on whether to accept its grant during a meeting Monday.

"We're anticipating they'll start (painting the bike lanes) before the weather gets bad," said Stotelmyer, noting the town would have to match the grant.

The money also will allow the town to install directional signs along the bike trail from the Cushwa Basin to Byron Memorial Park, Stotelmyer said.

He said enough money should be left over to print brochures, buy 90 seasonal banners to hang on lightposts and to enhance the town's website.

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