Grant money lost to repair JT football stadium
HEATHER BACSICK/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS The Jim Thorpe Area School District was to receive a grant to repair drainage issues on the high school football field. That grant was recently rescinded.
Jim Thorpe Area School District was awarded a Community Revitalization Program grant from the Department of Community and Economic Growth (DCED) in November of 2010. On Jan. 10, of this year, the school district found out the grant money it was supposed to receive had been rescinded.
This Community Revitalization Program grant was to be used in the school district to repair the football stadium and field. The stadium's drainage system had deteriorated over the years, making for muddy, sloppy conditions whenever it rained.
These drainage problems have caused issues with sporting events, including relocation and cancellation of events, as well as limiting community organizations from utilizing the stadium.
The school district sought out engineers and consultants to look into the issues with the stadium. Solutions as well as a budget were brought up by the consultants and the estimated cost to repair the stadium was $266,000. The grant request was for that amount.
Federal Programs & Grant Coordinator of JTASD, Jeffrey James, submitted the grant application through former state Rep. Keith McCall's office to the DCED in October 2010. James stated that in November, "The DCED gave the preliminary recommendation. Some contractual things needed to be taken care of and then they (DCED) would be sending a contract to be signed. Then the grant would be finalized."
By January there was no news about the contract. James called the DCED last month to check on the progress of the contract, and was told the grant had been rescinded.
Concerns were voiced by James because a lot of time and effort was put into this project and the school district wasn't given any official notification of the rescinded grant.
"The school was counting on the money from the grant to repair the football stadium," said Barbara Conway, Jim Thorpe Area superintendent.
New strategies for repairing the stadium will be discussed within the school board.
State Rep. Doyle Heffley was approached by James about the rescinded grant.
According to Heffley, other agencies have approached him about their grants being rescinded as well. Heffley stated in an interview that these grants were passed during the Rendell administration, and when the Rendell administration ended, there was news of rescinded grants.
"If the administration did not have the money to fund these grants, they should not have been awarded in the first place," Heffley said.
"It's very disheartening for these organizations," said Heffley, who was not in office when these grants were being processed. "These organizations thought they were getting grant money they needed to help the community."
Heffley said anyone who has questions should contact DCED.
"If they don't get the answers they need, contact my office and we will research it."