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City delays CDBG hearing

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 12:41 a.m.
 

A public hearing to discuss how Community Development Block Grant money will be spent in Connellsville has been delayed.

The meeting was expected to take place at 6 p.m. Wednesday, before the Connellsville City Council meeting, but Michael Edwards, executive director of the Connellsville Redevelopment Authority, informed board members Tuesday evening that the hearing has been postponed.

“The public hearing has been canceled because the city has not decided how it wants to spend the money,” Edwards said. “The city has to inform the public of what it plans to do with the money so the public has a chance to make comments and suggestions. The city has not decided which projects it plans to do.”

Edwards said CDBG funding will be delayed because state money recently was released for disaster relief that occurred in 2011.

He explained that 38 counties in Pennsylvania will qualify for disaster relief because two storms caused significant damage in September 2011.

“The disaster relief funding has just been released,” Edwards said. “The disaster relief money is two years old. The counties that received damage in those storms haven't received any money yet. I anticipate that the CDBG money for Connellsville will be delayed even longer because of the delay in the disaster relief money.”

The state also has not yet released CDBG grant applications for 2013, Edwards said.

“We don't even have the grant applications yet for 2013,” he said. “We're probably not going to see any money until the spring of 2014.”

In other business, Edwards said he plans to meet this week with Keith Cochran of Cochran & Associates of Pittsburgh, a company that specializes in historical properties, to discuss plans to restore Connellsville's Carnegie Free Library.

“From what I understand, they plan to replace the roof, windows and lighting, but the $30,000 we are giving them in CDBG money will only cover the cost of the roof,” he said.

Edwards said the Carnegie Library recently received $150,000 in state funding for restoration work. The library received money from a private foundation that could be used as matching funds.

“I just want to make sure that they understand that the CDBG money has to go toward the roof,” he said.

Edwards told authority members he had no update on the Aaron's Building.

Terry “Tuffy” Shallenberger approached city council about the possibility of purchasing the historic building at the corner of Pittsburgh and Apple streets that had been slated for demolition.

“I heard that Tuffy has been negotiating with the adjacent property owners,” Edwards said. “Tuffy hasn't announced what he plans to do with the building yet. We're just waiting to see what city council does.”

Cindy Ekas is a contributing writer.

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