The city of Dunkirk will hold a second hearing today at 11 a.m. on its Community Development Block Grant five-year plan for 2013-17. The hearing will be held in the Development Department conference room located in the Stearns Building, which is adjacent to City Hall.
A first hearing brought three people, including officials from Aspire of WNY, who said they were trying to get a bigger footprint in the north county and Dunkirk. Aspire had constructed a HUD group home in Fredonia for $2 million, with HUD contributing $1.4 million of the cost.
"There's not a whole lot of money left on the plate for organizations such as yourself," Tim Gornikiewicz from the Development Department told Aspire officials Betsy Dixon-Lang and Dan Walawender. "It really depends on the project. We probably have upwards of $150-200,000 to utilize toward organizations."
OBSERVER Photo by Gib Snyder
Betsy Dixon-Lang and Dan Walawender from Aspire WNY were on hand to question city of Dunkirk Development Department officials about Community Development Block Grant funding opportunities and procedures during a recent CDBG hearing at the Courtney Street Apartments Community Building.
"That gets spread around, which is one of the reasons we're looking at bigger, more transformational projects that aren't being worked on a year-to-year basis. Something that will really improve an organization or an activity for years to come," Development Director Steve Neratko explained. "Hopefully, they're sustainable projects where organizations don't have to come back every year."
Neratko said if a project was truly transformational it could be funded at a higher level.
"We're really not looking to help fund organizational expenses on a year-to-year basis, but to expand opportunities," he added. "There's a lot of options."
Travis Gordon has been working on the CDBG plan for the city and explained the plan is to focus on different areas of the city over the five-year period. He added each area has needs to address, which can be done if the areas are targeted but the plan is just a guideline which can be amended if needed.
Gordon said rehabbing a neighborhood at a time as opposed to a scattershot approach has been discussed during earlier CDBG meetings.
"That way property values increase as a whole," he said.
Other ideas were discussed, with city officials noting today's hearing and future workshops are still available for those interested in learning about the city's CDBG program.
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