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Heritage Corridor is back on its own

| Saturday, Dec. 21, 2002

UNIONTOWN - Emerging from a troubled past, the National Road Heritage Corridor is back on its own.

Unaccounted funds led to the heritage park having a hiatus in state funding forced on it as alleged improprieties were investigated.

"Fay-Penn helped us through a time that was a little rocky, and without your help, we wouldn't have gotten through it as quickly," said Donna Holdorf, the organization's executive director.

Problems became apparent in 1999 when $1.4 million of $500,000 was found to be unaccounted for. Most of the money was eventually accounted for, however.

To get back in the good graces of the state, the Fay-Penn Economic Development Council took the organization in, oversaw a reconstruction of its financial records, and generally enabled it to get a fresh start.

After a year in Fay-Penn's National City Bank building offices in Uniontown, the corridor's offices moved down the street to 65 W. Main St.

On Friday, Holdorf thanked Fay-Penn officers at the organization's quarterly board meeting for its staunch support.

However, being independent carries its own difficulties with it.

Holdorf said the organization has just recently sent out fund-raising letters to drum up support for its mission of promoting travel on about 90 miles of U.S. Route 40 through Somerset, Fayette and Washington counties and beautifying the road.

The state also offers grants to assist in tourism-related projects in areas on or near the road.

Only nonprofits and municipalities can apply, however.

The corridor is one of nine heritage parks in Pennsylvania that split $3.5 million in grants each year.

In other business, the organization noted a Dec. 23, 9:30 a.m. meeting at the Menallen Township Municipal Building.

The Fayette Enterprise Community will hold the first of eight community meetings to discern needs in the area.

The council also passed its 2003 budget of $1.7 million, with a deficit of $1.043 million.

The difference is made up by contributions from the Eberly Foundation.

Junker is a reporter for the Tribune-Review.

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