Cumberland Times-News

March 19, 2013

Garrett approves funds for demolition of center

Elaine Blaisdell
Cumberland Times-News

— OAKLAND — During its meeting on Tuesday, the Garrett County Commission adopted a resolution for the application of $30,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds for the demolition of the Crellin Community Center.

“This is a project that has been discussed for the last two years at the Pace Funders meeting and at the community level,” said Peggy Jamison, grants resource officer with Garrett County Community Action.

Though the community had concerns, it was determined rehabilitation was not possible and the best option would be to demolish the center, said Jamison.

Chairman Robert Gatto said nothing has been done with the building for the past 10 years and that he met with community members and they understood that the building needs to be demolished.

The site could possibly be used for another community center.

“It ties in nicely with the school,” said Gatto.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development and CDBG are willing to discuss future funding and assistance for redevelopment of the site, according to Jamison.

Jamison also provided a review of the after-school program funding from the CDBG that was awarded in 2009.

“What the funding from the block grant did is it bought some time for the after-school program to continue for about 12 to 15 months,” said Jamison.

There was an unexpected gap in the funding and CDBG was used to fill that gap, according to Jamison.

The $125,000 CDBG grant was matched with $125,000 from the county.

The program served 174 children, according to Jamison, and continues today with three sites in Accident, Grantsville and Southern Middle School.

Also during the meeting Mike Dreisbach, vice president of Garrett Trails and owner of Savage River Lodge, requested that commissioners provide $50,000 as a match for an Appalachian Regional Commission grant  for the next three years and an additional $25,000 to help fund administrative costs for Garrett Trails.

Garrett Trails is a nonprofit and does receive some money from the Taste of Garrett, which is held every year, according to Dreisbach.

There has been a delay with the Department of Natural Resources in the phase II of the Meadow Mountain trail, which will be funded by leftover ARC grant money.

“It makes it tough when we are asking for more ARC grant money when there is ARC money sitting on the table,” said Commissioner Jim Raley.

The second phase of the trail will go across 4-H center property and connect to an existing trail on Rock Lodge Trust Property land.

Last summer, local state foresters  were working on the engineering of the trail and stopped, according to Dreisbach.

“We have done everything we can to try and get them (DNR) to move,” said Dreisbach. “We are trying to determine what happened to that initiative and what happened to that cooperation.”

There will be an executive meeting of the Garrett Trails board today to decide how to move forward.

Garrett Trails is in the final stages of an agreement with the National Park Service to make the Eastern Continental Divide Loop trail part of the national trail system, according to Dreisbach.

Also during the meeting, the commission:

• Approved contract extensions for office furniture; chains and augers; liquid asphalt; motor oil, grease and fuel.

• Approved a resolution setting the real property tax date for May 3 at 10 a.m. in room 207 in the courthouse.

• Said that all budget requests were due on Feb. 15 and that for the first time the constant yield was identical to the tax rate.

• Heard an update and funding request from Karen Reckner, executive director of the Garrett County Arts Council.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.