State holding money for Forkland Center

July 14, 2004|EMILY TOADVINE

When Forkland Community Center holds its annual festival in October, the historic building likely will have the same old roof and the same electrical wiring. These two projects were supposed to be funded with a $250,000 grant, but now the money is being held up.

Forkland residents had posed with former Governor Paul Patton and an oversized check announcing that the center in western Boyle County would receive the money.

"I am concerned about whether we'll get it or not," Tony Wilder, Boyle County judge-executive said today.

He is hopeful that the money will be received, but not during the summer when the weather is good for replacing a roof.

"Basically what's happened that's a departure from what's happened in the past, is that when we've ever been awarded a facsimile check and the governor came to award the grant, we've never had to go back through and examine the eligibility of the project."


The federal grant is available through the Transportation Enhancement Act and is called TEA-21 money. Wilder says the state and federal levels are holding up the money.

"We thought all this would be resolved between the federal and state levels."

The problem may be that the money will be rechanneled toward transportation enhancement and not historic restoration projects, Wilder says. He thinks Forkland is one of 17 historic restoration projects in the state that will be affected.

Tom Buford, state senator, says federal government thinks the building doesn't qualify because it wouldn't bring tourists to see a historical property.

"We feel it's been approved and should be delivered and we're fighting the transportation cabinet in Frankfort to argue with federal level that it should be approved."

Buford thinks the battle will be won.

"I think we're still in good light to receive it, but it's going to take some more work."

The project had appeared to have the green light.

"We felt like everything was compelted except the check in the mail and now there's some backpedaling from Washington."

The new administration may be responsible for the delay, Wilder says.

"It must be at the state level, too. Before, the state always determined where the TEA-21 money will go."

Doris Purdom, a Forkland resident who is on the committee that applied for the money and is overseeing the grant, says the community is disappointed, but it will cope.

"We survived 33 years on our own and we'll still survive. I feel like this is some of our tax money. I thought we deserved it as much as anybody else."

Architects had made plans and already been paid $3,500, and a Liberty construction company operated by John Rigney was set to begin work in June. That start date was pushed back to July.

"Somehow this is all held up in Frankfort with the new administration and the new secretary of transportation." Purdom says. "It's federal money and I don't understand how the state can hold it up."

Purdom says she understands the money may be delayed by six months.

With their hopes high, the committee in charge of the annual festival based its theme on getting the work done.

Brochures announcing a theme of "A new beginning for an old way of life" were printed before Memorial Day.

Purdom says they will just have to carry on business as usual and hope for a successful festival to pay for maintenance on the building.

"That's where we make our money to survive the year."

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