Mon Valley a winner in the LSA jackpot

Mon Valley Independent

We think the Mid-Mon Valley has come away from this year’s Local Share Account grant process a big winner once again.

Washington County Local Share Account money is generated from revenues at the Meadows Racetrack and Casino in North Strabane Township.

LSA grants are awarded to community organizations for improvements, municipal projects, job training and economic development plans.

This is the 10th year that LSA grants have funded projects throughout the county and, when added to local matching funds, amounts to about $500 million spent on improvements, according to Jeff Kotula, chairman of the Washington County Local Share Review Committee.

Kotula, who is also president of Washington County Chamber of Commerce, said throughout those years, the Mon Valley has been awarded about one-third of that pot.

Kotula credits that remarkable figure to the Mid-Mon Valley’s ability in submitting projects and in partnering up.

“Over the past decade of the Washington County Local Share Program, Mon Valley communities have demonstrated their willingness to work together and their success continues to pay dividends for Valley residents and businesses through this program,” Kotula said.

This year, the LSA committee recommended granting nearly $7.5 million in funding and the Washington County Commissioners have approved all of those projects.

“While this amount is impressive, it is even more outstanding when you realize that this year, Mon Valley projects received $3.58 million ... more than half,” Kotula said.

Those funds, he said, will be used for such items as recreational parks in California and Donora, expanding the Donora Library as well as water/sewage projects across the Valley.

Many municipalities in the Mid-Mon Valley simply could not pay for such massive projects on their own. The LSA money keeps these communities moving forward.

Allenport will get $92,000 for street paving and Charleroi’s Market House will receive $73,000 for restrooms at the Main Street Farmers Market, to name a few.

We think the Valley’s steel mill towns, where they’re battling back from the economic devastation that came with plant closures, needed something like LSA funding.

County Commissioner Harlan Shober Jr. said the LSA is an asset and an opportunity that few counties in the state have.

Looking at the economic development possibilities in the region, we’re grateful for the opportunity.

We want all Mid-Mon Valley communities to take note of Kotula’s praise — the funding has come through in large numbers when the region works together.

We hope to see more of that cooperative spirit in the new year.