OBSERVER Staff Writer
OBSERVER Photo by Samantha McDonnell
Members of the Dunkirk Planning and Development Department reviewed applications for Community Block Grant programs received by the city at the Common Council’s Economic Development Committee meeting. Pictured are Director Steve Neratko and CDBG Administrator Tim Gornikiewicz.
The city of Dunkirk has started the process of reviewing applications for the Community Develop-ment Block Grant programs. Applications were received earlier this month and were announced at the Common Council's Economic Development Committee meeting.
Planning and Development Director Steve Neratko said the city has received numerous applications from organizations that would like to be included within the grants.
"We received less applications than we thought we would," Neratko said. "There were a few groups that we had talked to thinking they would apply and they didn't apply. I was surprised."
The applications came in and individuals in the development office are in the process of sorting through and getting in contact with the organizations to get further details of the projects applied for.
"There's additional information we need," Neratko said.
One of the projects that requested a lot of money was the Concord Babe Ruth baseball program. They are requesting $80,000 for work on the field, concession stand and press box.
"We're in talks with them to see if we could do a portion (next year)," Neratko said. "The Babe Ruth Field in the past has been host to many state and regional tournaments. They bring a lot of people to the area."
According to Neratko, the baseball field located on Lucas Avenue has not been worked on in 30 years and the organization has hopes of lasting another 30 years. Councilmember Stacy Szukala stated projects involving housing would provide an opportunity for more public support within the city. Neratko explained that organizations simply did not apply for housing projects.
"The one problem is we had ... very little talk of housing," Neratko said.
Chautauqua Opportunities applied for a housing program that will educate individuals on the home buying process. Once individuals complete the education courses, the program will help homeowners with a down payment. They requested $18,380 and also $15,000 for youth services for students to get involved with city parks. Other projects included purchasing an Electronics Benefits Transfer machine for the Chamber of Commerce Farmers Market, a requested amount of $10,000; work on the Dunkirk Senior Center; Boys and Girls Club requested $47,000 for transportation including the purchase of a van.
The committee will discuss the projects in further detail at its next meeting held Jan. 2. The projects will also be available for a 30-day period for the public to review.
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