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Input sought on grant
For Northside rehab project
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer
The Martinsville Community Development Department is accepting public comments as part of a process required to be considered for a Community Development Block Grant to rejuvenate an area on the city’s north side.
The project’s focus is to be the area around Franklin and Dillard streets and Warren Court. The area is near Liberty Fair Mall and Commonwealth Centre, the redeveloped former Tultex factory with the clock tower building.
Martinsville City Council will hear specific plans for the project March 25. However, the city hopes to get funds to make improvements to at least 30 of the 44 structures in the neighborhood, according to Assistant City Manager and Director of Community Development Wayne Knox.
A public hearing will held at the March 25 council meeting, but the city will take both oral and written comments before then under requirements to be considered for the grant. Comments can be about the proposed Northside project, the city’s use of block grant funds in the past five years and/or local housing and community development needs in general.
“Just give me a call or send me” the comments, Knox said.
He can be reached by phone at 403-5169 or by mail at P.O. Box 1112, Martinsville, VA 24112.
Community Development Block Grants are federally funded but administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Urban Development (DHCD). The program has three purposes — to help low- to moderate-income people, to prevent or get rid of slums and blight, and to remedy urgent needs that could harm people’s well-being, according to information provided by Knox.
In recent years, the city has used block grants toward site improvements for the New College Institute, developing the Academy Place neighborhood and revitalizing uptown and the West Church Street and Cherry Street areas.
A document shows DHCD anticipates having about $15 million to provide localities with “community improvement grants” for the 2014 cycle.
A total of 286 counties, cities and towns are eligible to apply for grants. Each year, 50 to 60 localities usually submit applications and 12 to 20 will receive grants, the document shows.
Localities are eligible to receive up to $1 million. Knox has said he expects Martinsville to apply for about $880,000.
In September, DHCD awarded Martinsville a $30,000 grant to help plan the Northside project.
Knox has said he thinks the city has a 50-50 chance of getting a grant to do the project.
In doing the project, the city would “make every effort of minimize the displacement of any residents,” but officials do not think anyone would need to leave their homes while improvements are made, a city document about the public hearing states.
The city plans to submit its block grant application on March 26, which is the deadline.