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Coyle Theater group ditches presentation for slots money

| Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013, 1:17 a.m.

Local projects totaling more than $5 million were among 40 requests for gaming money distributed annually by Washington County.

But noticeably missing from the list is the Coyle Theater restoration effort.

The Mon Valley Cultural Trust initially made a request for a piece of the gaming revenue from The Meadows Racetrack & Casino in North Strabane Township.

Each year, the Washington County Local Share Account Committee hears presentations for project proposals, then makes recommendations to the county commissioners.

The trust canceled its appearance before the committee last week.

Charleroi Mayor Nancy Ellis, a member of the trust board, could not be reached for comment.

Trust officials missed a deadline at the end of 2012 to match $175,000 in share account money from previous years.

“The Mon Valley Cultural Trust did submit an application for additional funding this year for the Coyle Theater; however, they canceled their public briefing and did not want the opportunity to appear before the LSA Local Review Committee,” said Jeff Kotula, Local Share Account Committee chairman.

“We were disappointed, because the committee wanted to understand what the project's viability is now that they did not meet the end-of-year deadline to match the original LSA grant several years ago.”

Kotula said the committee is finalizing its recommendations, which it hopes to quickly send to the commissioners, maybe this week.

“More and more people are interested in the process and see benefits for Washington County,” Kotula said.

The committee looks most favorably on projects that create jobs and improve infrastructure. That is especially prevalent in requests for Valley projects.

“The Mon Valley and its communities were very proactive in submitting projects for the Washington County Local Share Review Program this year,” Kotula said.

“We are glad that these communities are taking advantage of this valuable program and suggesting projects with long-term investments and impact.”

Kotula said one of the best parts of the local share program is that each Washington County municipality receives an up-front allotment: a base of $25,000 plus an additional $10 per resident.

“These dollars allow for each municipality to direct resources in the best interests of their local residents and community,” Kotula said. “It is a local investment being directed locally by mayors and councils.

“The process has been going well over the last five years. I think we've made progress for Washington County.”

One request the committee is considering is the Washington County Hospitals Community Initiative. Monongahela Valley, Canonsburg and Washington hospitals are each seeking $1 million over three years to improve medical imaging programs, MVH spokeswoman Corrine Laboon said.

The goal is to improve diagnosis of cancer, diabetes and heart disease, she said.

The Mon Valley Progress Council has two requests.

Discover the Mid Mon Valley would use computer technology to promote tourism.

Using navigation software, it would allow visitors to receive Smartphone App, web-based programs to provide maps and information about local sites of interest.

The video for the program would be created by students at Douglas Education Center in Monessen, Kirk said.

The progress council hopes to advance its Mid Mon Valley Intermunicipal Cooperative program, which now comprises eight municipalities.

The money would be used for self-directed training for municipal staff members and working on intermunicipal studies in such areas as budgets and public works.

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 724-684-2642.