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Grants from gaming money could be a boost for Aspinwall

| Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Aspinwall should focus its attention on getting grants from gaming money available through Allegheny County, according to the leader of the Allegheny Valley North Council of Governments.

Tom Benecki, the executive director of the COG, met with borough officials last week to discuss how they can better use the borough's membership in the organization.

The borough is not eligible for some programs, including Community Development Block Grants, Benecki said.

β€œThe problem with the CDBG is that you either have to have low to moderate income census tracks or you have to do household surveys to establish low to moderate income neighborhoods,” he said.

Money from gaming revenue β€” through the Community Infrastructure and Tourism Fund and Gaming Economic Development Fund β€” does not have any income requirements for communities. Aspinwall received one of those grants last year for intersection improvements at the riverfront park.

That is the type of project that would appeal to the county because it has regional appeal.

Benecki said it would benefit communities to focus on getting that money for projects.

Councilman Kevin Gordon said he wants to make sure the borough gets more than salt from its membership. Mayor Joe Giuffre said the borough receives $20,000 every other year from the COG for use in the borough.

Giuffre said the money is mostly used for park improvements and to make the borough better suited for people with disabilities.

Benecki said the COG wants to start organizing meetings between municipal managers so they can communicate and share ideas. Other meetings could be organized in the future, including ones for police and fire chiefs, he 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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