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Aspinwall explores grant opportunities

| Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Aspinwall officials want to get more out of their membership in the Allegheny Valley North Council of Governments and plan to look into grant programs available through the organization.

Tom Benecki, executive director of the COG, reviewed several funding sources with officials last week.

One of the most common, the Community Development Block Grant program, has had its funding take a hit in the past decade, Benecki said.

Aspinwall also struggles with that program because of income requirements in the community. While some areas of the borough could qualify, a household survey of income levels is needed and getting results has been difficult.

“We would only get 60 or 70 percent of the people responding and you really need about 80 or 90 percent,” Benecki said.

Households that don't respond to questions about what range of income they have count against the borough when officials attempt to get grant money.

Projects within the borough that could be eligible for funding include sewer and water projects and demolition work. Projects that would make the borough more accessible to people with disabilities also could be covered, Benecki said.

The borough's involvement in Allegheny Together, an economic development program, also could open it up to new avenues for grant money.

“You're into that now and they usually try to make money available to every participant,” Benecki said.

Funding also is available through gaming money. Those programs don't have an income requirement, Benecki said.

Councilman Kevin Gordon said the borough wants to do more than buy items such as salt through the COG.

Benecki also provided information to officials about other items available through the COG's purchasing alliance.

With a deadline for applying for gaming money funds in September, Councilman Joe Giuffre said the borough should find a project to pursue.

“I think we should put something in,” Giuffre said.

Tom McGee is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 1513 or tmcgee@tribweb.com.

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