Cumberland Times-News

April 9, 2013

City receives block grant funding

Michael A. Sawyers
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — The city received $1,300,000 worth of requests for the $684,000 in available Community Development Block Grants aimed at improving life in the Queen City, according to Lee Borror, community development specialist.

City Administrator Jeff Rhodes said Borror and others face difficult decisions about how to distribute the grant money. “It’s not as easy as you might think,” he said at the public meeting of the mayor and council Tuesday.

Housing projects would take up $218,380 and improve 52 residences, based upon staff recommendations, according to Borror. Of that amount, $18,000 is recommended for weatherization projects via the Human Resources Development Council.

“Increasing home ownership is a high priority,” Borror said.

Another $228,020 would be used to improve public facilities.

For example, $15,000 would help to construct a new animal shelter and $84,000 would improve Baltimore Avenue and also make the area at Amtrack accessible to the disabled.

Finally, $102,600 would be spread among public service groups such as $20,000 for HRDC emergency assistance and $16,000 for Family Junction.

Borror will accept public comments about the recommendations until April 23.

Sandi Saville, chairwoman of the Downtown Development Commission, and Jennifer Light, assistant mall manager, updated the elected officials about DDC, an organization Saville said has “few powers, but many duties.”

By way of special taxing, DDC brings in $215,000 annually for maintenance, promotion and other projects in the downtown. DDC does not use the city’s general fund, according to Saville.

In other actions Tuesday, the mayor and council:

• Heard an update about the 2012 Planning Commission Report.

• Approved the use of up to $1.5 million in unexpended 2008 public improvement bond money to meet temporary cash requirements.

• Sold surplus property at 1002-1012 Virginia Ave. to Sean D’Atri.

• Began the process to sell surplus property at 7 N. Waverly Terrace to John Kelley for $8,000.

• Authorized $477,922 payment to Belt Paving for S. Centre St. between Harrison and Dexter.

Contact Michael A. Sawyers at msawyers@times-news.com.