Cumberland Times-News

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May 17, 2013

County to request project funding through Appalachian Regional Commission

FSU developing pilot training program

CUMBERLAND — The beginning stages of a pilot training program through Frostburg State University, a water line replacement at the fairgrounds and work on an access road to the Frostburg Business Park are among the projects Allegany County plans to submit to the Appalachian Regional Commission for funding.

The pilot training program is in its infancy but is ranked second in priority on the proposed projects list, with a request for $60,000. There is interest from Frostburg State University officials and members of the Potomac Highlands Airport Authority in a flight school, which would likely be based at the airport. It would take about three years to get the pilot training program up and running, Frostburg State officials have said.  

“There’s going to be a big need for pilots,” said David K. Nedved, a county economic and community development representative.

Besides the pilot training program, the water line replacement at the Allegany County Fairgrounds and an advanced manufacturing work force development training program at Allegany College of Maryland are the top three priorities. The fourth is extension of fiber optic cable to Frost and Northeast elementary schools. The request for the water line is set at $150,000, the request for the work force training will be for $93,000 and the fiber extension request will be for $140,000.

The county must rank the projects according to priority. While it is unlikely all nine development projects will be funded, they are all submitted. The development projects total $857,000. Typically, the first three or four projects are accepted for ARC funding.

“We figure there is enough money (this year) that likely these four can be funded,” Nedved said.

Three access road projects, totalling $2.9 million, will be submitted separately. “We’re optimistic we’re going to get these funded,” Nedved said.

Right now, the improvements can be financed 100 percent with federal money. The three roads projects include the access road at the business park, projected to cost $600,000; Braddock Road acess improvement for $1.2 million and a Cumberland street improvement project at a cost of just over $1 million.

This is Allegany County’s year, said Nedved. Allegany, Garrett and Washington counties have something of an informal system of trading off larger projects each year, with one county getting priority for funding every year or so, Nedved said.

Commissioners indicated they were happy with the proposed prioritizations.

Two Project Open Space projects were a separate topic at the work session. The program allows the county to submit projects for approval and funding by the state program. The program requires a small local match.

“We don’t have much to work with this year,” said County Administrator David Eberly.

The money available, though, will help pay for recreational facilities at the new Allegany High School, budgeted for $250,000 in project open space funds and a county match of $27,777. Eberly said there was precedent for this type of funding, and it has been used for projects at Mountain Ridge and Fort Hill high schools.

“It’s our number one project and it needs to be done,” said Commissioner Michael McKay. Additional open space funds will go to pavilion renovation at Cresaptown Community Park, officials said. Phase two of that work is budgeted fo $3,420 in open space funds and a $380 county match.

Commissioners also heard from Gary Bartik of the Allegany Museum, who said a mildew and humidity problem has been discovered in the basement of the museum, which is used for storage of artifacts.

Bartik said the problem is a “financial torpedo.” He asked commissioners to help with ideas or funding to help fix the problem. Commissioners said they would work with the museum to see if some solution could be developed.

The work session took place at county offices on Kelly Road.

Contact Matthew Bieniek at mbieniek@times-news.com.

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