The Juniata River Blueprint Communities (JBRC), which consists of Mount Union and Mapleton boroughs as well as Shirley Township, have been awarded a $22,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh’s Blueprint Communities initiative.

As part of the grant funding, the leaders of the JBRC plan to use the grant to “enhance area leadership, management and oversight capabilities to support the community’s five-year strategy for comprehensive community revitalization.”

Rachael Steinbach, JBRC manager and special projects coordinator for Center for Community Action, explained what the grant will do.

“This will build off of the 2018 grant we received (for $25,000),” she said. “CCA put $1,000 in for grant writing capabilities and strategies. We hope to hold some trainings, put some requests for proposals together for items like volunteerism facilitation, signage and branding, leadership coordination and collaboration and entrepreneurship opportunities.”

As part of the grant, two people who are a part of the JBRC and live in the area it serves, Patrick Reeder and Alec Brindle, will receive scholarships to attend the next sessions of Leadership Huntingdon County.

Additionally, they will invest in a new JBRC website and the funding will allow Steinbach to continue as manager for the JBRC.

“With the current platform, we’re unaware on how to make changes,” said Steinbach. “We want to build a new one and have a course of action for the future to have other people take it over if they want to do so.”

The JBRC has been in existence for five years, which was the original time period for the Blueprint Communities initiative; however, Steinbach said they’ve recently been renewed to continue on as a Blueprint Commmunity until 2024.

As a re-certified community, they will be able to receive retention of the right to be recognized as a Blueprint Community and to use the Blueprint Communities® name and branding in communication, gain access to priority scoring points for the Affordable Housing Program (AHP), gain access to a pool of training and technical assistance and more.

“That process started in May with the FHLBank of Pittsburgh,” said Steinbach. “Now that we have recertification, we now have to do finalization, which will be done in September.”

Additionally, Steinbach said she’s also in the works of planning a community forum in the late fall for area residents to get a full update on what the JBRC is doing in the communities.

Kylie can be reached at khawn@huntingdondailynews.com.

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