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Only smaller Blawnox projects now qualify for federal block grants

| Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

If Blawnox continues to receive funding through the federal Community Development Block Grant program, it will have to be for smaller projects.

Borough Engineer Gordon Taylor of Senate Engineering said the borough no longer qualifies for grant money for community-wide projects under the program.

“Apparently, you're an affluent community,” Taylor said. “It's based on census tract.”

The change means that projects that use CDBG money would have to be “area wide,” and impact no more than 150 homes in the borough.

“Anything that benefits the entire community, you're not eligible for anymore,” Taylor said.

Funding for those types of projects would be limited to $20,000 per year through the borough's participation in the Allegheny Valley North Council of Governments, Taylor said.

The borough could complete a neighborhood survey that looks at income in the area, to receive money for projects. “Replacement of sewer lines, replacement of water lines” has to be done in a segmented way, Taylor said.

Completion of larger projects likely will be difficult. “If you want to do something large, the money probably won't be there,” Taylor said.

In the past, the borough has used grant money for a water tank painting project and various other work. “It's good you're getting the tank painted, and you have some of your other infrastructure taken care of,” Taylor said.

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

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