Obtaining CDBG funding proves challenging

Photo by Amy Cherry - St. Marys City Councilman Ned Jacob was voted to preside over Monday evening's meeting as Mayor Bob Howard and Deputy Mayor Greg Gebauer were excused from the meeting along with Councilman Gary Anderson.
By: 
Amy Cherry
Staff Writer

Tina Gradizzi, Community and Economic Development Coordinator, updated St. Marys City Council on Monday evening on the progress of the city's 2016 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) application as she works to get the grant under contract.
Obtaining CDBG funding is becoming more difficult with tougher stipulations being put in place by the state and federal government.
CDBG funding is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). The block grant program, enacted in 1974, provides money to communities to address a wide range of community development needs such as improving housing, ensuring suitable living environments and creating jobs.
The city was denied funding for an ADA pathway in the Erie Avenue area due to its location in the middle of a commercial district. The project was proposed to have benefitted a limited clientele, specifically those residing in the nearby senior housing apartments, of which 85 percent are over age 65 or are disabled. According to Gradizzi, DCED claims the pathway would be open for anyone to use and would not specifically benefit the proposed residents. This is the same reasoning the agency declined another proposed CDBG project involving erecting a bridge over Elk Creek to connect Brusselles Street with the Depot Street parking garage.

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