Portage commission contributes to two local initiatives, skips regional contribution

2013-09-06T14:33:00Z 2013-09-06T21:46:19Z Portage commission contributes to two local initiatives, skips regional contributionJoyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 nwitimes.com

PORTAGE | The Portage Redevelopment Commission on Friday approved contributing to two local groups to fight substance abuse and homelessness.

However, they skipped a request to fund a regional group.

The commission approved a $30,000 donation over three years to Empower Porter County, a community-based group aimed at fighting substance abuse in Porter County.

Executive Director Heather Harrigan said the group has representatives from various communities and segments in the county. Portage Police Chief Troy Williams, who endorsed the contribution in a letter, is chairman of the law enforcement community and E. Ric Frataccia, superintendent of Portage Township Schools, is chairman of the education committee.

The commission also approved contributing $10,000 a year for two years to help implement a 10-year plan to help end homelessness in the county.

Barb Young, president of the Porter County Community Foundation, said the Porter County Commissioners, Valparaiso, Center Township and United Way of Porter County have also agreed to contribute. The funds will be used to hire a part-time staff member to help drive the plan, said Young.

Portage Township Trustee Bendan Clancy endorsed the effort, said the township will likely be contributing funds.

However, the commission was silent when Mayor James Snyder, who chairs the commission asked for a motion to contribute to One Region, One Vision, a regional group.

Without the motion, there will be no contribution.

"While we believe in the mission of One Region, One Vision, we just have to be very picky right now," said Snyder. "While we support the vision, we don't have the resources."

Snyder added that, possibly in the future, when the city gets a better handle on its financial situation it could contribute to the group and would like to make even larger contributions to the other two organizations.


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