Rogers plans to spend $469,130 ​​in federal funds for community development

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ROGERS — City Council has approved a plan to allocate $469,130 ​​to improve living environments and expand economic opportunities for low-income individuals and families.

The 2022 Action Plan details the projects and organizations that will receive city funding for the state’s 2022 fiscal year through the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant program.

The city receives money each year through the block grant program based on the most recent census.

All funds from the block grant will be allocated to provide facilities assistance for local nonprofits, public services and emergency housing rehabilitation for low-income residents, according to Donna Johnston, administrator of the city’s community development block grant.

About 14,425 people will benefit from the funds, according to the plan.

The plan allocates $355,900, or 75.9% of total grants, to public facilities; $57,230, or 12.2%, for administration costs; and $56,000, or 11.9%, to utilities.

The Center for Nonprofits, which is home to more than 60 health, education and social service agencies, will receive the largest portion of any organization — $150,000, or 32% of funds — that will go to the facility of accessible and inclusive playgrounds and equipment.

Of the block grant funds, $78,600 will go to the Restoration Village long-term shelter for women and children; $75,000 to the Teen Action Support Center; $50,300 to the Boys and Girls Club; $15,000 to the Souls Harbor detox shelter; $13,000 to Open Avenues Vocational Training Center; $11,000 to Sunshine School and Development Center; $6,000 to the community clinic; $5,000 to the Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter; $5,000 to special advocates appointed by the Northwest Arkansas Court; and $3,000 to the Nicole’s House addiction recovery program, according to plan.

No new funds will be allocated for the repair of dwellings in the plan. The program’s repair projects slowed during the covid-19 pandemic, resulting in excess funds that are still being used, Johnston said.

Home repair claims dropped significantly in 2020 and 2021, which saw two and four homes repaired in those years, respectively, she said. Before the pandemic, the program helped repair eight to 10 homes each year in the city.

Between $200,000 and $250,000 is typically allocated each year for housing renovation and emergency repair projects in the city, she said.

The 2021 plan will be amended to allocate an unused $50,000 grant from a utility project to home repairs for the coming year, according to the plan.

According to the city’s website, eligible repair projects may include securing a home, reducing the risk of lead-based paint or mold, updating the building to current standards, improving energy efficiency and the provision of the house for people with disabilities. Emergency repairs and other necessary work, such as replacing an air conditioner, may also be included.

The plan will be submitted for approval by the federal housing department after the public hearing period expires next month.

“We have prepared the plan, but we have to hold a 30-day public hearing,” Johnston said, adding that the public hearing period ends at 5 p.m. on August 3.

Rogers has used $10,877,326.26 in funding through the Community Development Block Grant program since 1994, according to the plan.

Council members voted unanimously to approve the 2022 action plan.

other business

The board also approved:

• A federal grant agreement of $650,800 for the sealing of taxiways and aprons and the repair of cracks at Rogers Executive Airport.

• A $2 million concrete contract with J&L Béton and Excavation Inc.

• Disposal of unusable and worthless equipment by the city’s technical department.

• The use of $15,000 for the purchase of eight fire blankets for extinguishing electric vehicle fires by the fire department.

• The use of $20,000 for the purchase of a carport for storage purposes at the Fire Department training centre.

• The use of $42,000 to purchase a new Chevy Tahoe for the fire department.

• A request by Matilde Garcia to rezone 0.7 acres at 415 N. Dixieland Road from the residential office zoning district to the downtown commercial mixed-use zoning district.

• A request from Hannah Cicioni of HBIC to rezone 0.5 acres at 300 E. Pine St. from the Residential Duplex Patio Homes Zoning District to the Neighborhood Transitional Zoning District.

• An application by The Grotto at Osage Creek to rezone 8.1 acres on the west side of the intersection of South 28th Street and West Chateau Drive from multi-family residential zoning neighborhood to neighborhood commercial, along with a concept plan for density of 16.1 units per acre.

Source: NWA Democrat-Gazette


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