Those who are promoting expansion of walking and biking trails, landslide repairs and a host of other projects including sewerage are competing for a few million dollars in gambling revenue from The Meadows Racetrack & Casino.
The 88 proposals for the 2020 round of funding total just over $27 million.
Editor’s note: click the chart above to access the full list.
The formula for the amount of money available for distribution through the local share account depends on how much gamblers spend at The Meadows Racetrack and Casino. In the latest round approved by the state, $7.4 million was earmarked for 40 proposals.
There are 15 sewer projects totaling more than $9.7 million potentially on tap for 2020, including the largest-single request this year, $4.1 million for a South Franklin Township proposal for the Chartiers Creek watershed in the vicinity of the county airport and Route 18.
Among other sewer projects in the million-dollar range, Mon Valley Sewage Authority, Donora, is seeking $1 million for the third phase of its long-term control plan, and Peters Township Sanitary Authority is asking for $1.34 million for equipment to remove phosphorus and ultraviolet disinfection system at its Brush Run treatment plant.
Flooding and landslides during the past year have taken their toll on the region, according to several applications requesting money in the general public interest category to clear up those problems or work on storm sewers.
North Strabane Township, the host community of the casino, is seeking $1,678,000 to acquire property affected by the landslide in the Majestic Hills development that resulted in the condemnation of three homes.
Marianna Borough is seeking a half-million dollars to repair a landslide along Beeson Avenue. Robinson Township requested $666,327 to fix its Fourth Street slide. Monongahela’s municipal authority would like $150,000 for the second phase of stabilizing Dry Run’s slope. North Charleroi requested $43,000 to remediate the Locust Alley landslide.
Monongahela and West Brownsville are each asking for six-figure solutions for storm sewers, while South Strabane Township could use $400,000 for the Manifold Road stream bank and floodplain restoration project.
Among community improvement projects, the National Pike Trail Council is seeking $437,111 to convert the former Hempfield Railroad line to a biking and walking trail in the Claysville area.
Peters Township asked for a quarter of a million dollars for a 1.5-mile trail in Rolling Hills Park, adjacent to the new high school, that it hopes to connect to Arrowhead Trail, part of the former Montour Railroad.
Burgettstown Area Community Development Corp. is seeking $450,000 for an inn and hostel along the Panhandle Trail. The organization has proposed converting the annex of the former G.C. Murphy store at 1706 Main St.
Also in northern Washington County, Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs Inc. has asked for $400,000 to establish a campus in Robinson Township on the 102-acre site of a former strip mine adjacent to the Montour Trail. Disabled veterans would stay there while they trained with service dogs.
In the economic development category, totaling more than $2 million, Racetrack Road Management LLC asked for $840,000 for the first phase of the Chapman Southport, South Strabane Township. Starpointe Business Park, Hanover Township, requested $1 million for utilities, infrastructure and wetlands. The Washington County Chamber of Commerce hopes to receive $200,000 for its customer engagement campaign.
Job training requests total slightly more than $397,000 for recycling clothing through the Washington City Mission, the agriculture education center at the Greater Washington County Food Bank’s farm and the Trinity Area School District’s partnership with the food bank in a mechanical and technical training program.
This round of applications is the first since state Rep. Bud Cook (R-West Pike Run) sought co-sponsors for a bill proposing to change the local share program in Washington County, distributing the cash to school districts to reduce tax bills.
According to the House of Representatives website, the change, proposed April 16, has no co-sponsors. Neither has it been introduced.
Cook’s proposed change in the use of Local Share Account funds would not disturb the formula put in place a few years after the program’s inception that generally grants most of the 66 municipalities in the county $25,000 plus $10 per resident to be used “for any lawful purpose.”
Despite the developments over the past year, Washington County Commission Chairman Larry Maggi said the local share committee is forging ahead.
“He’s never contacted us at all,” Maggi said of Cook. “We’ve never had an opportunity to meet with him. We do work closely with the other legislators. We knew about the LSA concerns through the media.”
Meanwhile, state Rep. Tim O’Neal (R-South Strabane) is a new appointee to the Local Share Account review committee, which will convene public hearings Dec. 2 and 3 at times to be determined.
O’Neal joins state Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-Carroll) as the other legislative member on the committee.
The committee recommends a list of projects it deems worthy to the county commissioners, who vote on the matter and forward it to the state Department of Community and Economic Development, which has the final say.
‘Tis the season for giving and reaching out to those in need.
2000 Turkeys, the annual grassroots campaign that aims to provide Thanksgiving dinners for Washington County families in need, kicked off Thursday.
It’s time once again for businesses, organizations and individuals to participate in the community fundraiser that helps the Greater Washington County Food Bank put a “turkey on every table” for Thanksgiving.
Dave Richards and John Knisely of Washington Lodge 164 of the Free and Accepted Masons and the Blue Knights, which for several years has made the first contribution of the season to 2000 Turkeys, presented a $2,000 donation from the annual Blue Ride charity event.
“We’re happy to make a donation to a worthwhile cause that stays in our community,” said Richards.
2000 Turkeys began in 1983 as a seasonal food campaign for the unemployed. Since then, the event has grown into a tradition for Washington County families, schools, businesses and organizations that help provide a holiday meal for those Washington County families who meet the eligibility requirements established by the food bank.
Organizers have set a goal of raising $100,000 to provide a turkey and all of the fixings for neighbors in need.
The 2019 2000 Turkeys campaign, sponsored by WJPA Radio Station and the Observer-Reporter, runs through Thanksgiving.
2000 Turkeys also includes an annual donation and food drive held by Range Resources.
Donations can be mailed to 2000 Turkeys, P.O. Box 2000, Washington, Pa., 15301.
Donations also can be dropped off at WJPA and the Observer-Reporter.
The state Department of Health and local medical professionals will take part in a public meeting at Canon-McMillan High School on Oct. 7 about the large number of cases of Ewing sarcoma and childhood cancers.
The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the high school auditorium.
Medical professionals from UPMC Children’s Hospital will talk about Ewing sacroma and related types of cancer.
Department of Health officials will discuss cancer incidence reporting methods and how data is collected.
State Rep. Tim O’Neal, R-South Strabane, and Jason Ortitay, R-South Fayette, will host the meeting.
Since 2008, six cases of Ewing sarcoma have been confirmed within the Canon-McMillan School District, and several other students within the district have been diagnosed with various forms of cancer.
Department of Health officials will speak about the cancer incidence reporting methods and how data is collected.
Following an investigation into a possible cancer cluster, the Department of Health concluded in April there was no cancer cluster and there is not a statistically higher number of Ewing sarcoma cases in the Canonsburg area compared to the rest of the state.
But, residents argue, the study included only three of the six cases that have been diagnosed over the past decade, and excluded Cecil resident Kyle Deliere, who died of Ewing sarcoma in 2013.
O’Neal and Ortitay want the Department of Health to explain the report and how they arrived at the conclusion that there is no cancer cluster.
“Residents deserve answers so that they can better understand how conclusions were reached. I look forward to hearing the department more fully explain its incidence review findings,” Ortitay said in a news release.
O’Neal has requested that the National Institutes of Health complete a multiyear, multi-state study of Ewing sarcoma and related cancers to gather date and find a cause.
A letter signed by more than 50 groups and 300 individuals urged Gov. Tom Wolf to attend the meeting.