Cumberland Times-News

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July 15, 2014

Funding priorities: education, telecommunication, health care

CUMBERLAND — MCHENRY — The Tri-County Council of Western Maryland recently announced the 14 projects that will be recommended for nearly $4.4 million in federal grant funding through the Appalachian Regional Commission.

“We have prioritized education, telecommunications and health care and these projects have a lot to do with that,” said Guy Winterberg, assistant director.

The Tri-County Council represents Maryland’s only counties located within Appalachia: Allegany, Garrett and Washington. The council received dozens of applications for funding in 2014 from all three counties. Those projects are compiled and ultimately narrowed down to the final selections for submission.

A joint news release Monday from the offices of Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin also announced that a 2013 project submission for the creation of an animal welfare and veterinary assistance facility in Garrett County, known as the HART for Animals Center, has been approved for $250,000 in funding.

HART stands for Homeless Animals Rescue and Transport.

The funding goes toward the construction of a new center that supports 10 full-time jobs and provides clinical space for 30 students from Garrett College’s veterinary assistance program, the news release said.

The ARC funding for the HART center represents half of the total project cost of $500,000.

“It’s not unusual for funding to be delayed sometimes. It is contingent upon the availability of federal funding,” said Winterberg.

Winterberg said the time of year an organization applies and its ability to secure matching funds can also affect the timeline to receive the funds.

The 14 projects recommended for 2014 by the council are considered area development grants and will be funded at 50 percent with the applying organization required to provide the other half of the project cost.

The following is a list of the 2014 area development projects recommended for funding in Allegany and Garrett counties and the total cost of the projects:

• Allconet Backbone microwave link and spur tower upgrades Phase II: $300,000

• Last mile wireless Internet white space frequency phase III in Garrett County: $500,000

• Allegany College of Maryland automotive technology program equipment acquisition: $85,560

• Telehealth initiative to enhance community health care with communication upgrades: $124,000

• Frostburg State University geochemistry science lab: $200,000

• Garrett College allied health lab creation: $220,000

• Grantsville agriculture village strategic plan: $50,000

• Fiber extension John Humbird and Cash Valley elementary schools: $300,000

•  Mountain Laurel Medical Center communications upgrades: $200,000

Under the Appalachian Highway Development System, ARC also funds major road repair projects at 100 percent. The following projects were recommended for funding:

•  Mechanic Street rehab mill, overlay and pave Harrison to Bedford streets: $640,000

•  North Branch Industrial Park access road rehab in Mexico Farms: $700,000

The council is also recommending funding a $1.8 million waste water treatment plant at Keysers Ridge through the Economic Development Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Annually, ARC receives between $67 million to $70 million to fund projects in Washington, D.C. and the 13 states that have territory in the Appalachian Mountains.

Greg Larry can be contacted at glarry@times-news.com

 

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