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City Council approves $1.3 million in CDBG allocations

City Council approved allocations Thursday night for $1.3 million in Community Development Block Grant funds anticipated next year.

“These grants go to programs that assist low- to moderate-income organizations,” said Skip Memmi, city community and economic development director.

The city receives these grant allocations from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Memmi said.

The anticipated revenue is $1,362,506 and includes $1,039,000 in CDBG funds, $208,506 in HOME program funds and $115,000 in HOME program income.

A total of $716,864 is earmarked for public facilities and improvements, including $400,000 for street construction; $80,000 to remove architectural barriers; $183,914 for the Willow Street Greenway design; and $52,950 for program delivery.

The Willow Street Greenway, part of the East Third Street Gateway Revitalization Project, drew the most response from council.

The project is going to redesign and construct Willow Street, which runs parallel to East Third and East Fourth streets, from Basin Street to Market Street.

The project is 1,290 feet of reconstruction, said Jon Sander, city engineer.

The purpose of the design is to draw up how the street can be repurposed as a pathway with rain gardens, to capture water, and be a safe and secure path to link pedestrians from Lycoming College and the East Third Street Gateway Project area to downtown and back, he said.

The community development grant will pay for engineering design of the street. It is $183,914, according to Memmi.

A design firm will not be required to provide construction inspection or construction management, Sander said.

These services will be selected and awarded by state Department of Transportation and will likely utilize PennDOT inspectors or PennDOT assigned consultant inspectors, he said.

Consultant teams will be considered, but one lead consultant will be responsible to carry the contract to completion, he said.

For the actual construction, the city has secured a $1 million grant, $60,000 from the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania and $11,000 from the city budget, Sander said.

“Several bids from companies that want to design the greenway will be reviewed in December,” Councilwoman Liz Miele said.

The excited part is the greenway design, which is going to help with stormwater drainage issues, Miele said.

“The major issue will be what’s included in the design and to see the cost is aligned to what we asked for several years ago,” she said.

In other areas of the CDBG funding, the city will earmark $21,530 in “public services,” including $10,000 for the Lycoming County SPCA for a spay and neuter and live-catch program, $8,000 for Firetree Place for an after-school program and $3,530 for program delivery.

The housing rehabilitation and preservation program will receive $330,753, including owner-occupied single family loan program and code and safety repair, $141,016; handicapped accessibility, $15,000; program delivery, $174,737.

The next is home-buyer assistance through CHODO, which requires the city to set aside 15 percent: $30,000 for Greater Lycoming Habitat for Humanity and $15,000 for city home-buyer assistance program.

Under blight elimination, allocation anticipated is $19,709, and for demolition-related costs, another $15,000, Memmi said.

The city has HOME and CDBG administration of $228,650, 20 percent of which is allocation of CDBG and 10 percent comes from the HOME program, the maximum allowable by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In other business, Council appointed Tyler Mogovero and Max Moore to the city accessibility advisory commission. Council has to appoint one more member and Mayor Derek Slaughter, two more, to complete the membership before the schedule of meetings may be set.

Council will hold its first work session on the 2021 budget at 7 p.m. Nov. 30 and a second at 7 p.m. Dec. 2.

The next regular City Council meeting is Dec. 3.

Mayor Derek Slaughter noted as COVID-19 rears its head to stay vigilant, stay healthy, safe and adhere to the guidance of health experts.

“Let’s work together to get through this,” he said.

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