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Connellsville up for fix-up money

| Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 12:21 a.m.

The Fayette County Cultural Trust is moving ahead with the application process for potential funding through the Neighborhood Partnership Program to help revitalize downtown Connellsville.

Michael Edwards, executive director of the Connellsville Redevelopment Authority, said Connellsville was one of five communities recently selected as finalists for the program. A total of 20 cities applied for the program.

Each of the five communities selected could potentially receive $500,000 a year in funding during the six-year plan, Edwards said.

The funding will be provided through an $18 million grant through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, he said. Each of the communities must submit a complicated application to receive funding.

“We just found out that Connellsville was selected as one of the finalists a few weeks ago,” Edwards said. “Connellsville was selected because it is a low-income community. A two-block area in Washington, Pa., near the college was also selected as a finalist. The area is considered low-income because of the college students.”

Edwards said the Fayette County Cultural Trust received support letters for the grant funding from many nonprofit organizations, including the Fayette County Redevelopment Authority, Highlands Hospital and the Wesley Health Center, among others.

“We needed the Fayette County Cultural Trust to apply for the funding because of its 501(c)3 nonprofit status,” Edwards said.

Under the program, Edwards explained that corporations, including CSX Railroad and West Penn Power Co., could receive up to $500,000 in tax credits for providing funding to help community projects in Connellsville and other communities.

In other business, the authority:

• Awarded an $18,350 quote to M&D Excavating of Springfield Township to pave the senior citizens center parking lot. Two other quotes received for the project included $18,400 from Maloy's Paving of Dunbar and $21,800 from LBS Contracting, LLC of Dunbar.

• Announced that the Carnegie Free Library plans to use $30,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding to replace the roof of the building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The funding was allocated to the city in 2011 and set aside for the library project.

Cindy Ekas is a freelance writer.

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