ALACHUA – City commissioners met on Monday, Jan. 13 to discuss a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and conduct the second of two mandatory public hearings for the grant.

City officials said the grant would allow the City of Alachua to receive as much as $700,000. Grant money would be put toward community needs, particularly road resurfacing, under the current funding cycle.

During the a meeting last May, the city commission held the first of two required public hearings to determine the type of application for the city.

“The city is projected to be submitted to the Department of Economic Opportunity on or before March 12, 2014, depending on the opening of the CDBG grant application cycle,” said Assistant City Manager Adam Boukari.

Upon completion of the first public hearing, the city commission unanimously agreed to direct city administration to proceed with an application in the neighborhood revitalization category for the grant. According to an email from the city manager’s office, the Citizen Advisory Task Force meetings for this application were held on May 21 and Aug. 20 last year.

The grant comes from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. According to the grant’s website, “The Community Development Block Grant program is a flexible program that provides communities with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs.”

To help prepare for the grant application, the city hired J. Scott Modesitt of Summit Professional Service, Inc. to assess the city’s score for the grant. The grant is based off of a calculated score using income surveys performed by Summit Professional Services. Other factors that are considered are fair housing activity, readiness to proceed and matching funds. At each of the two public hearings, overviews on fair housing were provided.

“I am fairly confident that the city will receive the grant,” Modesitt said, “It really depends on what other communities are also applying for the grant.”

Modesitt said the grant will be used by the city to resurface the roads in parts of the Merrillwood Housing Project in northeast Alachua.

“The whole community is the beneficiary of this grant, it is very good for the city,” said Mayor Gib Coerper. “Re-pavement in these neighborhoods is needed,” he said, “and the City of Alachua is really thankful.”

Coerper says the city has been applying for the CDBG for many years. He said he is extremely happy with the work from city administration and Summit Professional Services.

If the grant application is successful, approximately $60,000 of the $700,000 grant will be used to pay for administrative costs, Mayor Coerper said.

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