ANNAPOLIS, MD-The State’s Community Legacy Program–a government-funded initiative to help revitalize neighborhoods and communities–has awarded $10 million to 52 local government and community organizations. Maryland’s Department of Housing and Community Development reviewed 92 applications for funding. The largest single award, totaling a little over $2 million, has been awarded to Prince George’s County’s Gateway Arts district for the rehabilitation and housing of the Mount Rainier Arts Space/Library and the Latin American Folk Institute. The Fiscal Year 2002 awards mark the program’s debut.

In a speech announcing the award recipients, Maryland Governor Parris N. Glendening observes that “the overwhelming response to the Community Legacy program confirms that many Maryland residents share the vision of living in close-knit, thriving communities with good schools, open space and access to public transit.” All together, the bevy of applicants requested 10-times the amount of funds available for the grants. “The decision-making process was quite arduous,” DHCD Spokesman Ed McDonough tells DHCD officials divided into groups of eight to evaluate each proposal, most of which had numerous components. “Because of funding limitations,” Mc Donaugh notes, “there were a lot of very good projects that didn’t get funded.”

Proposals out of Baltimore City received the most nods, with 11 different projects winning funding awards. But measuring in dollars and cents, Prince George’s County is the biggest winner, with 10 different proposals receiving an aggregate amount of approximately $4 million. For those applicants who did not receive funding, McDonough says NHCD will certainly encourage them to fine-tune their proposals and resubmit next year. But there is no guarantee that the same $10 million will be available for the Community Legacy Program in Fiscal Year 2003. “The decision-making process is based in part on how much money we get from the state legislature,” McDonough explains. The current economic climate may not allow for such an amount for the program the next time around. However, McDonough adds, “we’re hoping that we’re going to be able to whether this blip in the economy.”

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