Development Commission doles out block grant funding

Thursday, June 24, 2010 | 8:58 p.m. CDT; updated 10:32 a.m. CDT, Friday, June 25, 2010
Centro Latino plans to create a diner at 609 Garth Ave, where they recently received a construction permit. Centro Latino, which assists immigrants adjusting to life in Mid-Missouri, also plans to move their office to this site from their current location on Austin Ave, a few blocks away. In the past three weeks, the organization has hosted a farmers market on Tuesday evenings on the building's parking lot at the corner of Garth Ave and Lynn St.

This story has been modified to clarify that the recommendations for CDBG funding came from the Community Development Commission and to reflect that money left over from fiscal 2010 is part of the $1.2 million total that the city has to work with.

COLUMBIA — Local applicants have received recommendations from the city that could help them with funding for programs that may benefit the community.

The Columbia Community Development Commission met on Thursday to make recommendations for federal Community Development Block Grants. The city has $1.2 million to work with; that includes $246,456 left over from the fiscal 2010 fund. CDBG money comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The eligible 2011 community facilities, services, and economic development applicants are:

Centro Latino

  • Activity: Facility Acquisition. Centro Latino applied for funds to acquire the building at 609 Garth. According to their June 2 proposal, it is prepared to begin remodeling the inside for a community-style diner with cooking courses, medical services and obesity prevention programs. It chose the building's location because it is in the heart of the population it hopes to work with.
  • Requested: $145,000
  • Commission recommendation: $138,000

Columbia Housing Authority

  • Activity: Bear Creek Head Start
  • Requested: $90,000
  • Commission recommendation: $77,000 (From the reprogrammed money from 2010)

Disabilities Media Inc.

  •  Activity: Fair Housing Education. Disabilities Media has a contract with the city to provide information to people with disabilities. According to its June 2 proposal, it wants to help people find resources for things such as getting ramps and accessible features installed at their homes.
  • Requested $25,000
  • Commission recommendation: $0
  • Commission members expressed concerns about the stability of the plan. However, they said the city has a strong relationship with Disabilities Media. Director Homer Page and said the city wants to continue working with him and will reconsider his proposal in the future.

Enterprise Development Corp. 

  • Activity: Micro-Enterprise Program. The program is a Small Business Administration lender and provides ongoing assistance to the borrowers.
  • Requested: $18,750
  • Commission recommendation: $0
  • Commissioner O.U. Ukoha said in a June 2 meeting that he was disappointed in the program and the small amount of loans it was able to make. Enterprise Development Corp. had appeared before the commission before and received $12,000 in city funding in 2005.

Access to Justice

  • Activity: Landlord-tenant Counseling. The program is new and seeks to offer tenants information and assistance with legal representation.
  • Requested: $6,000
  • Commission recommendation: $6,000 (From the reprogrammed 2010 fund)

Eligible 2011 housing applicants

  • The commission recommended a total of $312,044 in 2011 CDBG money and $79,000 from the reprogrammed 2010 fund for various housing programs.

Eligible 2011 public improvement applicants

  • The commission recommended a total of $326,956 in 2011 CDBG money and $73,000 from the reprogrammed 2010 fund for various public improvements.

The commission's recommendations will be considered by the City Council as part of the total city budget for fiscal 2011, which begins Oct. 1. The council will hold public hearings on the budget in August and September.

All funds for the 2010 reprogrammed money are tentatively scheduled to be budgeted by early August.

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Toni Messina June 25, 2010 | 8:56 a.m.

Thanks for covering this story. Please note, however, that any references to "Council" should be to the "Commission," which is the group that acutally reviewed the applications and will make recs to the City Council for the FY 2011 City budget - also, the $1.2 million mentioned includes reprogrammed funds and is not "in addition to" - the City Council will consider reprogrammed funds within the next six weeks.

(Report Comment)
Scott Swafford June 25, 2010 | 10:34 a.m.

Thanks for the clarification, Toni. I've made those corrections. We also had a conversation in our newsroom this morning about paying better attention to the small details. Failure to do so, we recognize, erodes our credibility.

(Report Comment)

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