Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Blairsville lands $100,000 for facade improvements

by SAM KUSIC skusic@indianagazette.net on July 09, 2013 10:50 AM

BLAIRSVILLE — Blairsville Borough has been awarded an additional $100,000 in support of its facade improvement program, officials announced Monday.

“This is good news for Blairsville, Indiana County and all local residents,” state Rep. Dave Reed, R-Indiana, said in a statement. “Grants that Pennsylvania provides for the enhancement of its downtown areas are long-term investments in communities and in improving the quality of life for everyone.”

Through the program, property owners in Blairsville’s Elm Street district can receive financial aid for exterior renovations. Qualifying property owners generally are reimbursed for half of a project’s cost, up to $5,000.

Leann Chaney, executive director of the Blairsville Community Development Authority, which administers the Elm Street program on the borough’s behalf, estimated that the additional funding will be enough to cover 15 to 20 new projects.

To date, 71 facade-improvement projects have received funding through the program, Chaney said.

Chaney said the BCDA is planning a workshop for property owners, explaining how to apply for the reimbursement. She said she hopes to hold the workshop later this month.

State Sen. Don White, R-Indiana, said the grant is Pennsylvania’s latest investment into the ongoing improvement of Blairsville.

Among the previous investments are $13 million in grants and low-interest loans to the Blairsville Municipal Authority. In addition, the state provided $500,000 in support of a proposed housing development along the Conemaugh River.

It also gave the borough roughly $281,500 for the Blairsville Riverfront Trail, which opened last fall.

“These efforts to improve the community’s downtown area definitely complement the economic success of the Corporate Campus and the development and expansion of the region’s infrastructure,” White said in a statement. “They enhance the attractiveness of southern Indiana County as a place to live and do business.”

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