(Posted Feb. 3, 2016)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
The Madison County commissioners are gearing up for the next round of federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding possibilities. Applications are due by June 17.
CDBG funds are used for projects that benefit low- to moderate-income people or eliminate slum and blight. The county recently received funding for a flood and drainage project in London and neighborhood revitalization in Mount Sterling.
Whitaker Wright of CDC of Ohio held the first public hearing on this year’s CDBG grant guidelines on Feb. 1 at the commissioners office. CDC is a planning firm hired by the commissioners to help administer the grants.
CDBG funding comes in many forms. Wright said Madison County likely will focus its sights on the community development programs. Some of that funding is guaranteed, some of it is not.
The county expects to receive $105,000 in guaranteed dollars for up to three projects. The county must compete with other entities around Ohio for other funding. Competitive possibilities include: up to $500,000 for neighborhood revitalization (such as improvements to sewer and water service, drainage, sidewalks and parks); up to $300,000 for downtown revitalization; and up to $300,000 for repair or replacement of failing infrastructure.
Last year, Whitaker collected project ideas from elected officials and community leaders in income-eligible areas around the county. He suggested that the commissioners revisit that list and accept additional ideas before deciding what to include in this year’s grant applications.
Commissioner Paul Gross asked if the county’s water tower project at U.S. Route 42 and I-70 would be eligible for funding under the economic development category. He also wondered if the campgrounds project along the bike trail near the Madison County Senior Center in London would qualify under the neighborhood revitalization guidelines. Wright said he would look into both possibilities. Gross also said the county should make sure to consider projects that would benefit South Solon.
Wright will hold a bidders conference on April 8 and suggests that new ideas be submitted to the commissioners by April 15. A a second public hearing will be held in early June.