NEWBERRY – The City of Newberry may be applying for up to $700,000 in economic development funding through the Small Cities Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). 

Florida receives about $30 million annually from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for its CDBG program to be allocated within the state.

At the Sept. 26 commission meeting, Scott Modesitt, project development director for the consulting firm, Summit Professional Services, described the program, explaining the types of businesses that would be considered, the application process and the job creation requirement of 21 jobs.

Newberry would most likely apply for funding under the economic development umbrella, which finances public infrastructure intended to assist businesses and create jobs.

"At least half of those 21 jobs, 51 percent of jobs created, have to go to low-to-moderate income persons," Modesitt said. He added that to be eligible for the funding, the business must not have been able to open without the infrastructure, the job commitment is two years, and the Agency likes to see the jobs created at least a year after the grant closes out.

He also explained that prior to submitting an application to the Sate of Florida, the City of Newberry must hold a second public hearing.

Commissioner Alena Lawson suggested having a workshop before the second hearing so “everyone has an informed decision whether they want to apply for it or not.”

Modesitt added that interested businesses should not be discouraged if they don't know where to start.  Summit Professional Services, a community and economic development consulting firm, prepares, consults and works with applicants. The firm will supply a technical assistance package during the workshop, which will instruct local businesses about what they need to summit

Scoring of the grant applications includes characteristics such as private financing, timing and if one business is more prepared than another. Typically, only one business is awarded the grant, he said. The funding would go to the City of Newberry to manage and use for public infrastructure to support the business.

The City will be scheduling a workshop for local businesses to learn more about the grant and the application process.