Luzerne County recreation grants falling short for some

By Jennifer Learn-Andes -
Knick -

Dupont Borough officials must decline $4,424 in recreation funding from Luzerne County because it won’t be enough, borough Councilman Stanley Knick Jr. said Tuesday.

Instead of fully funding a few projects, a county council majority in October allocated equal shares of its $70,782 in leftover natural-gas recreation funding to all 16 applicants.

The 14 municipalities and two nonprofits can reject the county funding if they are unable to obtain grants, donations or other revenue sources to cover the gap between what they requested and received, council members had said. If applicants execute contracts to participate, the county will pay half initially and the rest upon proof of project completion within an 18-month deadline, officials said.

Dupont had requested $11,271 for playground mulch, Little League field sod and four new metal picnic tables at the borough’s Community Park, which is the only green space in the 1.5-square-mile municipality, its application stated. An estimated $1,720 in volunteer labor would be provided as a match.

Knick said the remaining $6,847 is out of reach.

“That’s too much to come up with. We’re a small municipality,” he said Tuesday.

Council clerk Sharon Lawrence recently sent an email to all applicants asking if they plan to proceed. Council Chairman Tim McGinley said the status of the projects will be discussed at the April 10 county work session.

Black Creek, Hazle

Black Creek Township Supervisor Bonnie Adams said Tuesday her municipality may request county approval to scale back its project to lower the additional funding that must be raised.

The township had requested $13,496 to install a fence at the Rock Glen Park, which includes a swimming pool, to increase visitor safety and privacy for neighbors. The township committed to handling site work.

But even with the $4,424 in recreation funding, coming up with the $9,072 difference would be “difficult,” Adams said.

Hazle Township Supervisor Chairman Jim Montone said his municipality will come up with additional funding and manpower to proceed with its plans to clear land for parking and a football field near existing soccer fields at the township’s Community Park. The township had requested $7,500 from the county to match its contribution in the same amount.

County Councilman Robert Schnee had proposed the equal allocation approach in October after predicting he and his 10 colleagues could spend hours debating the merits of each request and still be unable to reach majority consensus.

Unclaimed money will return to the county fund for other uses.


By Jennifer Learn-Andes

Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.

Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.