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Arundel government holding on to People's grants, for now

After pulling a grant intended for a health center that went out of business, Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman said the money is being set aside for now.

The county had awarded $1.9 million in casino grant funds to the People's Community Health Centers. The grant was part of a project to build a new combined health and community center in Severn. People's went out of business at the end of June under the weight of financial problems, including a $463,925.62 tax lien owed to the IRS and problems with its federal funding.

People's closed just weeks after the county announced it was discontinuing the grant in light of those problems.

Most of the grant money, $1.4 million, was issued for the 2013 year and $1.2 million of it was not spent. The rest, $500,000, was issued for 2014. The $1.2 million from 2013 will remain in the county's general fund and classified as restricted, Neuman said. The $500,000 will remain in the casino grant special fund.

The money will not be spent until there is a new recommendation from a group called the Local Development Council that reviews grant applications, Neuman said. The County Council must approve the Local Development Council's recommendations.

"We support the intent of the Local Development Council to fund a community center with these grant funds, and would like to see the project continued once the federal government selects a provider to replace People's," Neuman said in a statement. "In the interim, the grant funds will remain secure."

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