HOME Funding Hearing Set For Monday

How city officials plan on spending more than $1 million in federal funds will be presented to the public on Monday.

The plan on how to use Community Development Block Grant and HOME funding will be presented by Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi at 6:30 p.m. in City Council Chambers on the second floor of City Hall, located at 200 E. Third St. This will also serve to be the second public hearing for the federal funding program, with the first one being held last month. City officials will present the 2014 action plan and allow for more public input on how the money should be spent. Even after the second public hearing, city residents will have another 30-day period when they can submit written comments on how the money should be spent.

Vince DeJoy, city development director, said city officials already know they are receiving $1,335,882 from the federal Housing for Urban Development Department for the block grant and HOME program. The city will be receiving $1,054,609 in block grant money and $281,273 for the HOME program. In 2013, the city received $1,070,178 in block grant funding and $274,227 in HOME money, for a total of $1,344,405.

“We are pleased, and feel fortunate that there was not a significant decrease,” he said.

From the first public hearing, DeJoy said city officials heard a lot of support for removing blight through demolitions and improving streets and curbs. DeJoy said this year’s plan includes more money to help homeowners with rehabilitating their homes for those that meet the income eligibility guidelines. The U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department has three goals for block grant funding. One is to prevent or eliminate slums or blight, secondly to benefit low-to-moderate-income residents and finally to meet a particular urgent need for the municipality.

“We had the public input session and from that we developed a plan with priorities,” DeJoy said. “The plan will include all the program activities, once HUD approves the plan. Much of the same will be done this year as in the past. Rehabilitation for homeowners, target area demolitions, target area infrastructure improvement plans, which means sidewalk and street improvements and public facility improvements.”

The federal Community Development Block Grant program stipulates that at least 70 percent of funding must be used for low-to-moderate-income benefit activities and no more than 30 percent of funds can be used for slums and blighted areas. Activities that are ineligible include the development of buildings for the general conduct of government, political activities, equipment purchases and general operating, maintenance and salary expenses of local governments.

The action plan will be available for viewing at the James Prendergast Library, 509 Cherry St.; the city of Jamestown website, jamestownny.net; and at the city’s Development Department office. Once the public comment session is over, city officials will present the plan for City Council adoption.

City officials will also hold a public hearing at 7:20 p.m. on the proposal to abandon a portion of Outlet Avenue between West Eighth Street and Isabella Avenue. The area is being abandoned to be used for the Riverwalk and to improve conditions at Ben Weitsman of Jamestown, located at 610 W. Eighth St. Weitsman will pave and place a 6-foot fence around the business to help prevent dust from going toward the Riverwalk.

The area is also being prepared for Phase V of the Riverwalk project, which is the Chadakoin Park Trail and bike path from McCrea Point Park to Clifton Avenue. The trail will include a blacktop bike and pedestrian path over the former J&W railroad that runs along the Chadakoin River from West Eighth Street to Clifton Avenue, near Fluvanna Avenue; additional blacktop trails will lead from the main path to a nature trail and river observation platform; decorative lighting; park amenities like benches, picnic tables and trash cans; and landscaping including trees and grass. Through the abandonment of Outlet Avenue project, a buffer zone will be created between Weitsman’s and the Riverwalk.

A third public hearing will be held at 7:25 p.m. on the proposal to dededicate for street purposes Rose Alley, located between West Second Street and the railroad tracks.