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Trafford Recreation Board members aim to mend relationship with council

| Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, 8:12 p.m.

With their relationship with borough council souring since last summer, members of the Trafford Recreation Board want to meet with Trafford Council members to discuss how best to pursue grants for recreation projects in the community.

Rec board members said Monday they are seeking a meeting for guidance about project funding after council indicated last week that it wanted a detailed funding proposal before considering the borough's reapplication for a state grant to refurbish Fairmont Park.

“This rec board can't function without cooperation, and that's all we're asking for,” rec board President Tom Baric said.

Baric said Councilman John Daykon agrees with him about the need for the two boards to convene. At council's last meeting on Feb. 19, Daykon told rec board treasurer Cheryl Petersen about the need for a financial proposal for a possible grant application to the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, or DCNR.

Last month, rec board members said they intended to submit a nearly identical application to the one they used last year, which would have committed the borough to a $20,000 match if it received a $40,000 state grant. For past grants, the rec board and borough typically split the local match, with council often providing in-kind services to help cover its portion.

Council decided last year to require a funding plan from the rec board for grant applications after the borough underwent an audit for a project to refurbish the B-Y Park playground, Daykon said last week.

“Too many things in the past we have just done by the seat of our pants, and it's ended up costing the borough more money than it should have,” Daykon said.

Rec board members were disappointed last summer that council rejected a $45,000 state grant that would have paid for half of the cost of a new skate park at B-Y Park. They also have complained about having to apply for an annual grant from the borough.

Destiny Wall said she doesn't think that council respects the rec board, especially because it has the money to work on a project. The board has $29,892 in its account and applied to Friends of the Penn-Trafford Area Recreation Commission for a $10,000 grant.

“It's really frustrating to me, and I've about had it,” Wall said.

Though rec board members said they likely will miss the April 10 DCNR-grant deadline, Penn-Trafford Area Recreation Commission director Cheryl Kemerer said they could plan for to apply to the Commonwealth Financing Authority by its July 31 deadline.

Kemerer also assuaged rec board members that she will continue to oversee PTARC projects for the borough, although the applications she prepares for the state require her to include Trafford's name as applicant in addition to PTARC's.

“I will still be doing all that work for you,” she said. “I'm here to help you and I'm here to work for you.”

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or cforeman@tribweb.com.

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