Canton Repository

February 15, 2003

Local projects get federal funding of $5M through Regula

Copley Washington correspondent

WASHINGTON — More than $5 million more in federal aid is on the way to Stark County and environs after Rep. Ralph Regula wrote it into a $397.4 billion spending bill passed by Congress on Thursday.

Among the assistance is $2 million to build a YMCA between Massillon and Navarre in western Stark County. The facility also will serve parts of Holmes, Wayne and Tuscarawas counties.

The congressman’s office said the YMCA will combine with Children’s Hospital Medical Center of Akron to provide health and developmental services to children and families, including the local Amish population.

Regula, R-Bethlehem Township, was able to direct the money to his district because he is an influential member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which writes congressional spending bills.

The multibillion-dollar spending bill, finally approved more than four months after its deadline, will finance federal government operations until Oct. 1.

Critics of the measure said it is loaded with “pork,” or unnecessary spending on state or local projects written in by lawmakers looking after their constituents.

Regula defended his “earmarks,” which he said in a prepared statement “will go directly toward improving health-care access and quality.”

Aultman Hospital will receive $1 million, which combined with hospital funds, will pay for expansion and renovation of the Canton hospital. Another $1 million is headed to Malone College in Canton, where it will help with construction of a nursing school facility.

More health-related assistance goes to Alliance Community Hospital, which is receiving $600,000 for the fight against peripheral vascular diseases such as Raynaud’s disease. The funds will pay for equipment and other costs in a program to screen people for the disease, provide preventive education and treatment.

In Wayne County, Dunlop Memorial Hospital in Orrville will get $750,000 for renovation and expansion.

Another $500,000 is headed to Boys’ Village in Smithville for the construction of a family and youth resource center. The nonprofit organization provides treatment to troubled youths.