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Commissioners Approve Economic Development's ARC Grant Requests

Jun. 7, 2012

The Garrett County commissioners on Tuesday approved the Department of Economic Development’s request list for Appalachian Regional Commission funding in Fiscal Year 2013. The list will be forwarded to the Tri-County Council of Western Maryland for its review and approval, before being submitted to federal legislators.

Garrett County has received as much as $500,000 in ARC funding in past years. Grants for area development projects require a 50 percent match from state, local, and/or private sources. Local access road project grants require a 20 percent contribution from the various sources.

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Economic Development director Jim Hinebaugh noted that ARC funding may be limited in FY ’13; therefore, he and his staff have listed the proposed projects according to priority.

Topping the county’s request list of development projects is the “Asset Based Infrastructure Improvements at Adventure Sports Center International.” Economic Development is requesting $250,000 from ARC, as well as $350,000 in state/private contributions.

The funds would be used to support the Deep Creek 2014 Canoe Slalom World Championships at ASCI. Telecommunications upgrades, amphitheater seating, stairs, and a pavilion would be constructed. Hinebaugh noted that the International Canoe Federation suggested that the improvements be made for the championships.

Second on the list is the “Last Mile Wireless Network” project. The county is requesting $250,000 from ARC and plans to contribute another $250,000 toward the initiative.

The county would design, install, and operate a wireless network to deliver broadband Internet service to as many as 5,000 residences not currently served by any provider. The system would use the newly released “TV White Space” frequency spectrum that can travel up to 10 miles and penetrate through buildings, trees, etc. This concept was evaluated in the recently completed Garrett County Broadband Feasibility Study.

Third on the list is the Penn Alps to Meadow Mountain Trail project. The county is requesting $100,000 from ARC to construct the route. The total cost of this project is $542,345, with $386,345 coming from National Recreation Trails, $50,000 from Garrett County, and $6,000 from Garrett Trails.

The nine-mile long project would begin near Grantsville and connect to the Meadow Mountain Trail. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski just announced that ARC has awarded $250,000 for completion of the 10-mile long Meadow Mountain Trail, which the county requested funding for last year.

Last, but not least, on the development funding list is the proposed Accident Wastewater Treatment Plant. Hinebaugh indicated the project is number four because of funding issues involving other agencies.

Garrett County is seeking $250,000 in ARC funds for the $3.456 million project.

For local access road projects, the county is seeking $252,000 for the “Cherry Glade Phase II Revision” project. An estimated $1.045 million is needed to complete the road, which goes through the county’s old roads garage property in Oakland, connecting Rt. 219 and Fourth Street.

The Cherry Glade project experienced a major cost increase recently because of bridge and stream mitigation, which is required for permitting, Hinebaugh said. For example, the stream design became more expensive than anticipated as nearly $57,000 worth of plants are required along the stream bank.

Once the road is completed, Hinebaugh noted, the county will have three additional one-acre lots available to sell to business owners.

Two lots have already been sold and are occupied by Dairy Queen Grill & Chill and Clear Mountain Bank. These sales netted the county more than $600,000, Hinebaugh noted.

He said the county will need to contribute $63,000 to Phase II of the road project, but the three lot sales will bring much needed additional revenue to the county.

Number two on the road access list is a request for $400,000 in ARC funds for infrastructure improvements at ASCI. Two pedestrian/cart bridges over the whitewater course and an access road would be constructed. Parking lot upgrades would also be made. Hinebaugh noted that the International Canoe Federation suggested these improvements as well.

Hinebaugh stressed the projects list is subject to change, based on the availability of ARC funding and requests from other western Maryland counties.

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