City Develops HUD Grant Plan
Comment Period Open On CDBG Allocations
Posted: March 15, 2013
HARRISONBURG — City residents have until April 12 to tell officials how federal dollars coming Harrisonburg’s way should be spent.
Harrisonburg receives community development block grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development each year, but must give the public a chance to weigh in before designating money.
The amount coming for fiscal 2014, which begins July 1, is expected to be $440,500, while another $26,000 of previously unallocated funds also is available.
Harrisonburg received $477,000 from HUD this fiscal year, $488,000 last year and $583,000 the year before. The last amount was larger because one-time funds were a part of the allocation.
Projects must meet one of HUD’s three objectives to receive funding: having a low- and moderate-income benefit; eliminating slum and blight; or addressing an urgent need.
Nonprofit organizations, businesses and government agencies submit proposals for a city selection committee to review and develop a plan for spending the allocation. Public input is then gathered for 30 days before City Council submits a plan for HUD to approve.
The selection committee reviewed $746,000 of proposals for the $466,000 available in the upcoming fiscal year. Government projects chosen for the plan include renovation of the Harrison Heights apartments on Hill Street ($140,000); new exercise room equipment at the Cecil F. Gilkerson Community Activities Center ($100,000); and installation of more pre-emptive stoplight technology for emergency vehicles ($56,000).
Ande Banks, the city’s director of special projects and grants management, said the recreation center, for example, has been a “really good location” to spend grant money on through the years, such as the installation of a security system.
“It has always been and I hope will continue to be the center of our community,” he said.
Nonprofit programs selected for funding include Friendship Industries ($26,000) and Meals on Wheels ($12,500).
Banks said public comments are usually from people lobbying for projects, adding that he doesn’t recall anyone criticizing the committee’s decisions.
Comments can be submitted until 9 a.m. April 12 by calling 432-8926 or emailing CDBG@ci.harrisonburg.va.us.
Contact Preston Knight at 574-6272 or email@example.com