City mulls projects for CDBG funding

With a month until the application deadline, the city discussed possible Community Development Block Grant projects during a public hearing Tuesday.

Three projects discussed included making improvements to Little Hedges Park and the roads around it, making improvements to South River Road and surrounding neighborhood and replacing the lift station behind Kiwanis Manor.

The city is guaranteed $75,000 in CDBG’s formula program, and is eligible to apply for two of the three set-aside grants, Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. Director of Development Karen Bowers said.

Bowers said the proposed projects had potential and have a shot of scoring high in CDBG’s set aside grants, which include the Critical Infrastructure Grant and the Neighborhood Revitalization Grant.

Councilman Jim Roberts said the Little Hedges Park project meets all the criteria and is “a complete project.”

“There’s all kinds of things that can be done there,” Roberts said.

Bowers said she thinks the Little Hedges project would score the highest for CDBG set asides because it improves streets, sidewalks, the park and neighborhood lighting.

She said the South River Road and surrounding area project also would score well.

“What you’re doing is creating neighborhood space,” Bowers said. “You’re creating something for the people that live there that makes them feel like they belong to something.”

The city is expected to have a meeting before the next public hearing, to further discuss details of the projects, and it hopes to have a member of the engineering department in attendance to provide cost estimates.

Bowers said she needs details on which projects the city is going to pursue and rough estimates of expenses by the next public hearing, scheduled for June 3.

She said the final public hearing has to be no later than June 11 to make the June 21 deadline.

Bowers said CDBG no longer allows amendments and extensions for applications.