Published on Times News Online ( http://www.tnonline.com )
State Sens. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) and Dave Argall (R-Schuylkill/Carbon) and state Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon) announced that four Carbon County projects will receive over $648,000 in state grants through the local share assessment (LSA).
"I am very happy to see this state funding returning to Carbon County to fund public safety, economic development and recreational projects throughout the county," Yudichak said. "Each project is very important to each of these communities and I am hopeful that other area local governments see the funding opportunities available through our many state programs."
The grants were announced at a meeting of the Commonwealth Financing Agency.
"I am happy to see valuable resources in the form of grant funding coming back to Carbon County," Heffley said. "These grants represent a cross-section of important projects, from those related to downtown development, emergency services, conservation and our tourism industry. All are important projects to the individual communities and the county as a whole."
The largest of the four grants was awarded to Lansford Borough, who will use the $275,000 to revitalize the borough's business district on Ridge Street from Tunnel to Coal Street.
The project entails installing new sidewalks, curbing, handicapped ramps and warning devices; and purchasing trash receptacles, planters, trees, street signs, posts and parking meters.
"I wish to thank Sen. Yudichak, Rep. Heffley, and Sen. Argall for their hard work to obtain this grant for Lansford Alive and also Lansford Alive board member Mary Soto and President Christopher Ondrus, who researched, wrote and met with Eric Snyder, Keystone Engineering, to coordinate the application to apply for the grant," said Martin Ditsky, president of Lansford Borough Council. "As an individual raised in this borough, who fondly remembers what the town was, perhaps this grant will enable us to create fond memories for the next generations to follow us."
Jim Thorpe Borough received a grant totaling $223,671 to construct an ADA compatible section of the Delaware & Lehigh Trail.
When completed, the project will link the five counties that comprise the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor and provide fully ADA accessible access to the trail and canal.
"These funds will contribute to building the critical north-south D&L Trail connector at Jim Thorpe," Elissa Garofalo, president of the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor said. "It's the rare project that combines an economic generator with a resource that greatly enhances the region's quality of life."
The Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Company received $100,000 to purchase a new brush truck.
"We are so grateful with the help Sen. Yudichak, Sen. Argall and Rep. Heffley gave in securing the LSA grant," Bruce Wolfe, Franklin Township Fire Chief said. "We urgently need to replace our 1986 brush truck just from a safety standpoint for our firefighters and we are currently paying for two other trucks one of which was not planned and it would have been years before this could have been possible."
Argall was also pleased with the Franklin Township grant.
"I applaud the efforts of the Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Company for putting forward a strong application to receive this competitive grant," Argall added. "This new truck will be a welcome addition to the community for protecting and saving local lives."
The fourth local grant was awarded to the Nesquehoning Conservation Club, who will use the $50,000 to construct a nature park and to re-establish fresh water in the existing pond in the borough.
"The Nesquehoning Conservation Club would like to thank John Kovatch and the Kovatch family for the generous donation of the pond and the property. We would also like to thank Sen. John Yudichak and Rep. Doyle Heffley for their help in securing the grant," said Greg Pecha, vice president of the Nesquehoning Conservation club.
He added, "Their assistance, along with RoniSue Ahner and the Nesquehoning Borough, throughout the grant application process was great. The grant will go a long way in helping us achieve our goal of making this nature park area available for all the public to enjoy along with their children and grandchildren."