The Wyoming County Commissioners have set aside $50,000 from its Marcellus Legacy Fund awards to offer grant opportunities for local greenspace and recreation projects.
The county receives this Act 13 funding specifically for recreation projects, according to county planner Lynelle Farber, who was in attendance at Tuesday’s commissioners’ meeting.
The state distributes these funds to counties based on population size. Wyoming County typically receives somewhere near the minimum amount of $25,000, she said.
After coming on board in 2015, Farber said she looked at these accounts and considered how to distribute the funds fairly. That year, the county offered a mini grant program to municipalities and nonprofit organizations.
The commissioners have approved a third round of this grant program for 2019-20, with the application period opening on Wednesday, Dec. 18. The deadline to apply is Feb. 21.
An individual grant has a $5,000 maximum, with guidelines and timelines outlined on the application.
The idea was to coordinate the release of the funds with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources grant application period, which ends in April. This way, Farber said those who are awarded the county grant could use it as matching funds for DCNR, though this isn’t required.
In the previous two rounds, she said there have been a number of successful projects.
“It’s been everything from baseball field rehab to fences to signage for trails,” Farber said. “It’s been some really great projects.”
The commissioners also agreed to set aside $5,000 from the Marcellus Legacy Fund each year for maintenance on the Iroquois Trail.
Responsibility for maintaining the trail has gone on the wayside, and the county hopes to gather the reins on this while also expanding the trail, she said.
While the county owns the property, the trail was constructed through the Industrial Development Authority, which holds a trail easement. The IDA is no longer as active as it used to be, Farber said.
“We’re going to start creating a pot of funding that we can use to continue to maintain the Iroquois Trail,” she said.
In the future, the county may take over the Iroquois Trail, she added.
A motion was also passed on Tuesday to appoint Commissioner Judy Mead as a liaison between Trehab and the county commissioners once she officially retires in a few weeks.
“I think with her background and her knowledge of Trehab, it would be a wonderful combination,” Commissioner Tom Henry said.
Mead was recently recognized for her 20 years of service to the county at a breakfast banquet with the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce, and Henry said a similar celebration for Mead is being planned at the courthouse.
Solicitor Paul Litwin said the commissioners needed to discuss assessment appeals, a union grievance, an employee issue and a personnel matter in executive session.
Following the executive session, the commissioners voted to terminate an employee at the Wyoming County Correctional Facility. The name of the employee and circumstances of the termination were not publicly discussed.
The county budget for 2020 has been finalized, with adoption on the agenda for the final meeting of the year on Thursday, Dec. 26, at 9 a.m.
The budget is available for public inspection in the commissioners office during regular business hours.