The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development has rejected this town's application for a $274,500 Small Cities Community Block Development grant for four community projects.

"We were really disappointed," said Town Manager James L. Schumacher. "We thought it was an excellent application."

The Small Cities Program, established in 1977 by Congress and administered by the state, provides economic and community development grants to help small towns meet housing and community development needs.

The town applied for the CDB grant last April for Oklahoma Avenue street realignment and several mortgage assistance loans, as well as a community center project and a riverfront property acquisition feasibility study, he said.

Specifically, the grant application requests were:

* $25,000 to rehabilitate two to four homes for low- and moderate-income families, and $105,000 for six to eight mortgage purchases for low- and moderate-income, first-time home buyers on Oklahoma Avenue.

"The rehabilitation grants were to fix up several houses, and the loans were to help first-time home buyers with purchasing money on existing or new construction," Schumacher said.

We justwon't be able to do those projects now, said Mayor Lloyd R. Helt Jr.

* $80,000 for Oklahoma Avenue realignment to straighten and widenthe road.

* $20,000 for a Schoolhouse Road Community Center.

*$10,000 for an acquisition feasibility study for a proposed park area on the Patapsco river front.

Additionally, the grant asked for $34,500 for administrative costs associated with the grant application.

State officials said Sykesville's application was turned down last month because of stiff competition this year for few available dollars.

"This was an unusual year in that we received 2 1/2 times the applications in dollars we had funds for," said William Walker, director of the Community Assistance Office. "The rejection shouldn't betaken as a slight. This is just what happens in a competitive process when you have more applications than funds."

The DHCD received 29 applications totaling $9.6 million in project requests, but had only $3.8

million to hand out, Walker said.

"We had some exceptionally good applications and some from towns that had not applied before," he said. "Sykesville met all the qualifications for the grant, but, unfortunately, this year it didn't work.

"But we will continue to offer technical support in helping the town look for other possible sources of funding and in preparing a better application for next year," Walker added.

Schumacher said the town may try again for the$10,000 grant for the riverfront property acquisition study.

"Thestate said it would like the town to re-apply for the riverfront project, so we'll probably do that within the next couple of weeks," Schumacher said.

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