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Adams awards $5 million for development and safety projects

Five million dollars from the Adams Response & Recovery Fund (ARRF) was awarded to 14 projects impacting economic development and public safety priorities at Wednesday’s Adams County Commissioners meeting. Top awards included one million dollars to the East Berlin Area Joint Authority to support regional economic development, $500,000 to Adams County Technical Institute for land and construction of a county-wide career and technical institute, and $465,000 to South Central Community Action Programs, Inc. to provide affordable housing.

Other awards included:

$368,900 to the Gettysburg Combined Area Resources for Emergency Shelter for homeless housing

$323,100 to Adams County Economic Development Corporation to assist middle-income home buyers with down payment assistance.

$312,000 to the Adams County Arts Council for essential programming in the community.

$281,000 to True North Wellness Services to increase behavioral health services in the county.

$250,000 each to:

  • Alpha Fire Company No. 1, Inc. for a new ambulance
  • Anthony’s Way Foundation for transitional housing
  • Adams Regional Emergency Medical Services for a critical care EMS unit
  • Buchanan Valley Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. for firehouse upgrades
  • Heidlersburg Area Civic Association Fire Company to replace SCBA equipment for fire response.
  • Lake Meade Property Owners Association, Inc. for an access road to provide upgrades to Lake Meade Dam.  
  • Southeastern Adams Volunteer Emergency Services for a new state-compliant engine tanker.

Commissioner Randy Phiel said that the county received $20 million from the American Rescue Plan funds and could have used all of it to offset the deficits caused by Covid as some counties have done. Instead, the county used half of the funds for that purpose, reserved $5 million for the updated broadband project now underway, and provided the community the opportunity to apply for the other $5 million. The funds were announced in September 2022 and 43 project applications were received between Oct. 24 to Nov. 21, with a minimum cost of $250,000.

“I wish there had been millions more. All the applications had merit,” said Phiel.

Commissioner James Martin called the process to determine the awards “very thorough. It was a well-informed decision and, when done, will make an impact on our community.”

“Almost all these funds were used for affordable housing, economic development, or mental health services. Without a doubt, these are some of the most critical issues facing our communities. While all the applications were good, these three issues must be addressed if we are to move forward,” Commissioner Marty Qually commented.

Awards and Honors

The Optimist Club of Gettysburg honored Eric Beyer by presenting him with the 2023 Respect for Law Award. Detective Beyer is the coordinator of the Adams County Drug Task Force and a member of the Internet Crimes Against Children task force. He also assists all other law enforcement agencies within the county from summary offenses to homicide investigations.

Optimist Club Director Doug Miller said it is a positive way to recognize an officer. “He goes above and beyond,” Miller said.

Commissioner Phiel agreed. “Eric is unique, adding to his plate over and over again. He never says no. There is no one more deserving or entitled to this recognition.”  

A modest Beyer thanked the commissioners, his wife, his co-workers, and the Optimist Club.

The commissioners named Adams County resident Timothy H. Smith Official County Historian.  The proclamation noted he has served as a volunteer, research assistant, collections manager, historian, and director of education for the Adams County Historical Society for over 30 years. He replaces Dr. Charles H. Glatfelter, former historian from 2001 until his death in 2013.

Smith, who attended the commissioners’ meeting unaware that he was to receive a reward, said, “I am stunned and honored and hope I can fulfill the duties of the official county historian.”

“Your distinction comes at a unique time,” said Commissioner Martin, referring to the opening of the new Historical Society facility in April. Martin thanked him for his long hours and accumulation of so much knowledge.

“This is about protecting our future—making sure we don’t forget those stories,” added Commissioner Qually. “I can’t think of anyone else in this county who knows more or deserves it more.

Smith, originally from Maryland, began visiting the area in the 1970s before making it his permanent home in 1989.

“There’s not one who parallels him for his knowledge of Adams County history. He is the go-to guy for everything. The new county historical museum would not have gotten done without his basic knowledge about what should be in there,” said Commissioner Phiel.

Smith will be recognized again when the new Adams County Historical Society opens at its new headquarters, 625 Biglerville Rd on April 15 with a weekend of events.  

 In other board business:

The Agricultural Land Preservation Board has picked up more than 70 acres of farmland after approval from the commissioners to purchase the David and Beatrice Waybright Farm for $3,000 per acre.

The county has authorized the advertisement to accept sealed bids for the maintenance repairs of 40 county bridges. The sealed bids must be submitted online at PennBID on or before 8 a.m. on May 3. All bids will be announced at the commissioners meeting on the same day.

Municipal demolition and building permits will be reduced from $10 to $, but non-compliance fees will rise from $50 to $100 per incidence. The cap for projects requiring permits is now $4,300 and will be assessed annually. Residents must receive permits from the municipality in which they reside and then apply for county permits.

Adams County business manager Steve Nevada reminded residents that the new email address went into effect in January and after April 3, the old email address will no longer work. The new email tag is @admascountypa.gov. The old tag was @adamscounty.us. If in doubt, Nevada said the Adams County PA website can provide contact information.

The next meeting of the Adams County Commissioners will take place on April 5 from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Featured image caption: Eric Beyer was the recipient of the Optimist Club of Gettysburg Respect for Law Award. From left, Optimist member Fred Darling, Commissioner James Martin, club secretary Daryl Aurand, club president Gary Rappoldt, golf committee chair Dan Mattern,  Commissioner Randy Phiel, Respect for Law committee chair Doug Miller, Commissioner Marty Qually, Adams County District Attorney Brian Sinnet. 

Second photo caption: Timothy H. Smith was named Official County Historian at Wednesday’s Commissioners meeting. From left, Commissioner James Martin, Commissioner Randy Phiel, Smith, Commissioner Marty Qually. 

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Judith Cameron Seniura is a freelance reporter. She began her journalism career in the early ‘70s and has written for newspapers, magazines, and other media in Ontario, Canada, Alaska, Michigan, Nebraska, San Antonio, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

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