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Archive for Tuesday, April 10, 1990

COMMISSION HEARS CDBG RECOMMENDATIONS

April 10, 1990

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Two model block programs and paid coordinators for neighborhood associations are among the programs and projects recommended for 1990-91 Community Development Block Grants in Lawrence.

In a study session Monday, the CDBG Advisory Board presented to the Lawrence City Commission the board's funding recommendations for the $727,000 in federal grant money anticipated for the fiscal year that begins Aug. 1. The commission will hold a public hearing next month before acting on the recommendations.

Community Development funds pay for services intended to help low- to moderate-income people or for projects to improve their neighborhoods. Most of the money comes from a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The CDBG Advisory Board recommended setting aside $18,000 for both Pinckney and Oread neighborhoods for model block programs. Homeowners in target blocks are eligible for a $1 rebate for every $4 spent on exterior beautification. Residents in the 900 block of Illinois participated in Lawrence's first model block program in 1989-90.

THE GROUP also is recommending that Oread, Pinckney, Brook Creek and East Lawrence neighborhood groups be given money to hire coordinators for the coming year.

Eric Cleveland, who chairs the advisory board, said the coordinators can assist neighborhoods.

"The value of a coordinator is an opportunity to bring the neighborhood and neighborhood needs together in focus and to be able to effectively address those needs," Cleveland said.

The advisory board recommended against funding two agencies that have shared in CDBG funding. The Salvation Army and Douglas County Legal Aid both were turned down in their funding requests. Cleveland explained that the Salvation Army, which was funded in the past for its homeless shelter, refused to sign an agreement with HUD prohibiting religious practices at the shelter. Legal Aid, the advisory board recommended, should be funded out of the city's general fund.

DURING THE study session, Commissioner David Penny renewed his criticism of targeting CDBG funds for projects such as housing rehabilitation loans, demolitions and weatherization programs. Those programs, he said, aided individual private homes at the expense of capital projects that could be of more benefit to the public at large.

"I still have problems loading up so much in deferred loans, demolition and weatherization deals it's almost $317,000, nearly half of the total funds available rather than public capital improvement items," Penny said. "I still have a problem with going to the private sector."

Penny expressed those same concerns in 1989 when the commission reviewed the CDBG Advisory Board recommendations.

The commission will receive comments on the recommended allocations during a public hearing on May 8. It is expected to make its final decision on CDBG funding at its May 15 meeting.

HERE ARE the recommended allocations from the CDBG Advisory Board for capital improvements:

East Lawrence neighborhood: $15,000 for sidewalk repairs; $1,500 for a neighborhood cleanup.

North Lawrence neighborhood: $16,500 for a portion of the cost of installing a traffic signal at North Second and Lyon; $8,000 for playground equipment at John Taylor Park; $15,480 for sidewalks in the 800 block of Locust; $2,000 for two neighborhood cleanups.

Oread neighborhood: $1,400 for dumpster pads; $3,000 for sidewalk repairs; $18,000 for a model block project; $735 for a neighborhood cleanup.

Pinckney neighborhood: $5,980 for toddler play equipment at Clinton Park; $2,325 for water fountains at Burcham Park; $18,000 for a model block project; $1,200 for two neighborhood cleanups.

University Place neighborhood: $14,500 for sidewalk improvements.

Social service agencies: $7,565 for roof repairs at Achievement Place for Boys; $9,400 for installation of a furnace and north windows at Ballard Center; $5,520 for repairs at First Step House.

City requests: $5,749 for an airlock at East Lawrence Center; $2,077 for an airlock at South Park Center; $18,000 for installation of irrigation equipment at Veterans Park; $15,000 for water lines on Prospect between 12th and 13th streets.

Community Development department requests: $230,000 for deferred loans to low-income families for housing repairs; $7,000 for demolition or clearance of blighted property; $20,000 for weatherization improvements to exteriors of homes owned by low-income families; $30,000 for mechanical weatherization improvements of homes owned by low-income families; $30,000 for minor home improvement grants; and $134,960 for administration.

IN ADDITION to the capital improvement projects, the federal government allows cities to apply up to 15 percent of funds to assist public services agencies helping low- and moderate-income groups. Here are the recommended allocations from the CDBG Advisory Board for public service agencies:

Neighborhood associations: $1,475 for Brook Creek Neighborhood Assn. operating expenses; $2,300 for Brook Creek Neighborhood Assn. coordinator; $1,000 for East Lawrence Improvement Assn. operating expenses; $4,150 for ELIA coordinator; $1,055 for North Lawrence Improvement Assn. operating expenses; $10,760 for Oread Neighborhood Assn. operating expenses; $1,425 for Pinckney Neighborhood Assn. operating expenses; $4,150 for PNA coordinator.

Other agencies: Douglas County Child Development Assn., $3,000; Emergency Services Council, $12,185; Health Care Access, $4,000; Hospice Care, $10,000; Lawrence Housing Authority Brookcreek Learning Center, $5,000; Project Acceptance, $7,500; Trinity Community Services, $10,000; Women's Transitional Care Services, $9,000.

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