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Effort to redevelop Connellsville gets financial boost

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Saturday, July 12, 2014, 1:06 a.m.

Connellsville has received a boost in the drive to help fund economic development.

Fayette County Cultural Trust announced that the FirstEnergy Foundation will donate $100,000 in $25,000 installments over four years to help redevelop the city's downtown area and provide assistance to local small businesses.

Michael Edwards, Cultural Trust president, said the grant was recommended by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development's “Strengthening Communities” partnership program.

“We're happy to have the support of FirstEnergy,” he said.

FirstEnergy was sought out as part of the program where corporations provide funds to help strengthen communities in the region.

“They (FirstEnergy) were able to use their foundation, doing it this way (to provide funding),” Edwards said.

Some of the funds will be used for benches, streetside improvements, flower beds and sign and facade projects. Other funds will be provided for various festivals, such as the Mum Festival and Christmas program. Funds also will be used for the “Lunch and Learn” business classes.

“Hopefully, we can use the funds for leverage when we have opportunities for matching grants, as well,” Edwards said.

“FirstEnergy has a strong history of supporting community development organizations in Western Pennsylvania. and we are proud to support the work being done by the Fayette County Cultural Trust to assist with investment and job creation in Fayette County,” said Jim Lash, president of FirstEnergy Generation and an Allegheny Conference on Community Development board member, in a news release announcing the grant.

Karl Polacek is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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