Archived Story

Projects weighed for piece of federal grant pie

Published 10:08pm Wednesday, February 29, 2012

There will certainly be plenty of individuals and organizations in Niles interested in getting a piece of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) pie in 2012.

This year, Niles is receiving about $262,000 in federal CDBG funds that can be used for a variety of  community development projects. The city qualifies for the funding as an “entitlement community,” based on its aging housing stock and level of poverty.

The Community Development Citizens Committee gathered Wednesday night to discuss its annual action plan — essentially a budget for how to spend the dollars.

Several interested residents also attended to find out how their project or organization might qualify for some of the money.

Community Development Director Juan Ganum warned there will be “far more demand than supply of dollars.”

“It’s not easy. It’s a real challenge,” Ganum said, referencing the decisions of how to allocate the funds.

After reviewing the requests, the citizens committee and city workers will  draft recommendations to the city council, which will have the final say in how the money will be spent.

“It sounds like a lot of money, but it doesn’t go very far, especially when divided up among many projects,” said citizens committee member and former Niles director of public works Neil Coulston.

Ganum said funding requests that address economic development, job creation or neighborhood livability will have the upper hand this year.

Applications must be submitted to Ganum by Tuesday.

Call Ganum at (269) 683-4700 ext. 233.

Where’s the money going?
Here is how the city of Niles spent its Community Development Block Grant funding in 2011:
$96,415 — Sidewalk Improvement Program
$55,000 — Homeowner Assistance Program
$46,131 — Ferry Street Resource Center
$30,000 — Code enforcement
$20,000 — Main Street Kitchen Incubator
$5,000 — Bike park
$10,000 — Community Gardens project
$5,000 — Smoke detectors
$40,000 — Administration

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