Representatives from the borough, Meyersdale Renaissance and residents have worked together since 2005 to gather as much funding as possible from state, county and local sources to turn downtown into a work of art.
The hard work paid off. They raised more than $1.1 million for the “streetscape” project to include new sidewalks, curbs and lighting.
But, as deadlines draw near and all resources have been tapped, the group remains $50,000 short.
“This is probably one of the best co-operative efforts in the borough,” said Kathy Bisko, program director for Meyersdale Renaissance Inc., the borough’s Main Street program.
“Honestly, we need the support and help of the people who live and do business on Main Street.”
This week, the design committee mailed letters to businesses and residents along Main Street, which would undergo a facelift with new sidewalks and a bike lane from Grant Street to the Western Maryland station.
The centerpiece of the design would feature a maple leaf on the intersection of Center and Main streets.
The letters ask each person or business owner to give $20 per linear foot of new sidewalks and curbs, an amount that Bisko said is less than one-quarter the cost of each person to pay for the work privately.
The request was mailed even to businesses that already have made significant donations.
“These are the people who would directly benefit,” Bisko said.
In October 2006, the group was awarded an $850,000 PennDOT grant for the work, following a second public meeting.
Organizers had hoped to see work begin in the summer, but the review process with PennDOT took longer than expected.
“It just takes time, more than we anticipated,” Bisko said.
The project also received a $200,000 boost from the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development, $30,000 in Growing Greener funds and $25,000 in Community Development Block Grant money.
Another $125,000 in matching funds needed to be raised, and a design committee used a streetlight sponsorship campaign, as well as private grants through foundations, to raise all but the final $50,000.
“At this point, we very much need to get this moving,” Bisko said.
If organizers are able to line up funding, the project should be bid this year.
The group has planned to coordinate the project with a borough water authority project to replace 150-year-old water lines, which is scheduled to begin in the spring. To keep pace with that joint undertaking and preserve grant funding, the streetscape design must begin in the summer, Bisko said.
“Right now, the most critical thing is this last piece of funding,” she said.