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SHARON, FARRELL Drug abuse targeted through new plan



Published: Sun, September 15, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Weed & amp; Seed subcommittees must now come up with ways to link their dreams with reality.

By HAROLD GWIN

VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU

SHARON, Pa. -- A community-based drug and alcohol treatment center is a main focal point in the Sharon/Farrell Weed & amp; Seed Revitalization Plan.

The plan, devised by the Sharon/Farrell Weed & amp; Seed Committee, will be presented to the public at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Quinby Street Resource Center, 335 Quinby St. The committee includes community and political leaders and residents of the targeted area, which includes about 80 city blocks along the Sharon-Farrell border.

The report says the community believes there is a need for drug and alcohol treatment facilities within the target area.

Other services

Community centers can provide a variety of other services as well, the report said, suggesting that more than one could be utilized.

There could be one for drug and alcohol treatment and others for recreation and intergenerational programs as well as a "safe haven" where tutoring, mentoring and other programs could be offered, the report said.

The Weed and Seed program, sponsored by a three-year $220,000 grant from the state and $30,000 from the Mercer County Housing Authority, was launched in the fall of 2001, and the proposed revitalization plan must be presented to the state for its approval, said Adrienne Gordon, coordinator for the Seed portion of the project.

The goal is to clean up crime and rebuild the neighborhoods. The weed part involves an increased police presence and a crackdown on drug trafficking and other crimes.

It's the seed portion that is drawing the committee's attention.

The committee focused on six areas: public safety, economic development, education, housing, recreation and employment.

Subcommittees studied each area and came up with suggestions that were put into the revitalization plan.

More work

The plan "is just a reference book," Gordon said, explaining that once it is approved by the state, the subcommittees will have to prepare concept papers showing how to link their visions with reality and the funding sources necessary to do that.

"We have to prioritize the list," Gordon said, adding, "We're very positive about what we've done thus far."

There are a variety of state and federal grant programs that Weed & amp; Seed can approach for funding, she said, noting that the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime & amp; Delinquency has already awarded the effort a four-year grant to aid with blight reduction.

Weed & amp; Seed will get $90,000 in each of the first two years, $67,500 in the third and $45,000 in the fourth under that grant, Gordon said.

Gordon noted that community centers aren't the only thing proposed in the revitalization plan.

There are suggestions to develop financial and planning opportunities for micro-entrepreneurs in the targeted area, expanded home ownership programs and expanded recreational opportunities as well, she said.




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