City Council Announces Plans For $1 Million Block Grant Funding

In order to beat application deadlines, the Jamestown City Council held a special meeting to approve resolutions on Monday.

One item approved was the annual action plan for Community Development Block Grant and Home funding. City officials each year, with input from the public, produces an action plan on how to use funding from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. In April, Vince DeJoy detailed the action plan during a City Council meeting.

The city will be receiving $1,054,609 in block grant money and $281,273 for the HOME program. DeJoy said 82.2 percent of the block grant money will go toward proposed low-to-moderate-income benefit activities. One plan is to allocate $160,000 toward neighborhood target area demolitions. This money will be used to demolish housing units in low-to-moderate-income areas that threaten public health and safety. Neighborhood target area infrastructure improvement program will received $155,167.

Another program to receive funding is citywide owner-occupied rehabilitation, which will receive $103,520. DeJoy said this money will be used to address code violations uncovered through mini-sweeps performed by the city’s target area code enforcement officer. The money will be used to rehabilitate and repair houses with code violations for income-eligible homeowners.

Other programs to receive money include $90,000 to address buildings not compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act, $90,000 for the downtown handicapped accessibility improvement program, $55,000 for a target area code enforcement officer and $40,000 for the owner-occupied emergency repair program.

The rest of the block grant money will go toward the proposed slums and blight activities. This includes $145,000 for the downtown greenlining facade improvement program. DeJoy said this leverages private dollars to assist downtown commercial business owners in improving the appearance of their storefronts. Most of the $281,273 HOME program money will also go toward citywide owner-occupied rehabilitation program.

Another resolution approved by City Council was a resolution authorizing Mayor Sam Teresi to enter into a $500,000 grant agreement with the Chautauqua County Land Bank Corporation for the demolition of approximately 40 vacant, substandard or abandoned properties in conjunction with the $1.506 million grant from the state of Office of the Attorney General.

City Council approved the grant application for $1.6 million in state assistance through the transportation alternative program to complete the city of Jamestown intermodal transportation connector. Along with this grant, the City Council also approved entering into an agreement with Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency on a land easement on the south shore of the Chadakoin River. City officials want to construct two pedestrian/bicycle bridges crossing the Chadakoin River to connect with the Greater Jamestown Riverwalk trail.

A resolution was approved to apply for a $250,000 grant through the New York Main Street Grant Program. If approved for the grant, the money would be used to redevelop the M&T Bank Building located at 2-10 E. Third St. If approved, the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation would serve as administrator of the grant.

City Council also approved the application for funding for the National Comedy Center through the state Consolidated Funding Application Program. National Comedy Center officials have initiated the development of a cultural heritage and community center for the comedic arts that is proposed to be located in downtown Jamestown at the Jamestown Gateway Train Station and adjoining parcels. A partnership of local and regional foundations have provided grant funding for planning and development costs, and have also pledged $15,500,000 toward actual construction and exhibit installation expenses in conjunction with what is projected to be a $33,500,000 project. The project is expected to leverage $7 million in new market tax credit financing and secure another $5 million in miscellaneous other public and private funding. The National Comedy Center officials are submitting an application before the June 16 deadline requesting $6 million from the state for the construction.

Finally, City Council also approved applying for a state grant for a park project to be located along East Second Street near the Appleyard Apartments. The project is known as the Appleyard Greenway project. Anthony Dolce, Ward 2 councilman, said the project involves demolishing abandoned houses to provide greenspace for the park.