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City accepting applications for Community Development Grant Funds

By WKTV News

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The first of three meetings discussing the allocation of Community Development Block Grants was held Tuesday night in Utica. The federal funding dollars can be used to benefit low or moderate income people or go towards eliminating slums or blight. Local organizations that qualify can apply for a portion of the funds.

The CDBG funding was brought up at the monthly meeting that takes place in Cornhill at the Thomas Lindsey Memorial Public Safety Center on James Street.

The money can be used to benefit the area where low and moderate income families live. In the past it's been used to pave or fix streets and spruce up parks. Small businesses who are looking to add more employees also qualify to apply for some funding.

Last year, The Johnson Park Center and the Parkway Senior Center were on the receiving end of CDBG funding. Representatives from both organizations were at Tuesday night's meeting to ask the advisory board to once again consider their applications.

The amount of CDBG funding this year totals just over $2.3 million. This is a drastic reduction from in years past. Gene Allen with the Urban Renewal Agency in Utica says funding has dropped about 25% each year over the past few years. Just a couple of years ago, Utica received more than $4 Million in CBDG funds.

Because the amount of money available is smaller this year, the competition is amped up. A nine person advisory panel will be going over applications from local organizations and businesses, ranking each one. Then the panel will present it's suggestions on how to allocate the money to Mayor Robert Palmieri- who will make the final decision.

At the meeting it was brought up that Mayor Palmieri had wanted to take the funding and use it where it was needed in Utica, but after discussions with other city leaders, including members of the advisory panel, he decided to let the application process continue as normal.

Not all of the $2.3 Million is available for local programs. Some of it is sanctioned under Section 108, which is a loan repayment plan. This money is used to pay off loans that business owners could not. The money is already designated to be used in a very specific manner. For example, roughly $250,000 of the Section 108 funds go towards paying off the loan the owners of Hotel Utica could not. More Section 108 money goes towards paying off the Loretto Nursing Home Loan. The total of the Section 108 loan repayment funds is $886,999.

Here's how the rest of the money breaks down:

Neighborhood Preservation Activities: $572,982 Economic Development Activities : $97,601 Youth Activities: $214,268 Senior Activities: $103,001 Administrative Activities: $436,899

All of the applications are due by 4pm on November 1st. Applicants are asked to keep it under seven pages long. You must turn in your application to the City Department of Urban & Economic Development.

The advisory board will look them over and a Draft Annual Action Plan will be ready by January 15th. The draft will be subject to a public review and comment period.

The Final First Action Plan must be submitted to HUD by February 15th.

To find the application, click here

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