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CDBG funding allocations to receive final approval

CDBG funding allocations to receive final approval

Spending plan approved by committee
CDBG funding allocations to receive final approval
The rear exterior of dilapidated 858 Eastern Ave. in Schenectady is seen in 2016.
Photographer: Marc Schultz/Gazette Photographer

SCHENECTADY -- The City Council will vote July 9 on final approval of approximately $3 million in federal Housing and Urban Development funding.

The cash will go toward community projects, housing projects, economic development and public works projects. The council’s Finance Committee unanimously approved the spending plan during its Monday meeting.

The city received more than $300,000 in additional funding from HUD, which includes Community Development Block Grant funds, in June, after the federal budget was passed with additional HUD funding included.

As a result, several city projects got more support, including a housing project from Better Neighborhoods Inc.

That project, which seeks to convert a city-owned vacant home into an affordable rental home for low-income residents, was given another $32,000, bringing funding for the project to $100,000.

James Flacke, executive director of Better Neighborhoods Inc., said the funding will help in the organization's efforts to revitalize the Eastern Avenue and Crane Street area. The agency was also awarded $250,000 over a three-year period from KeyBank in May.

Kristin Diotte, the city’s director of development, said the city would work with Better Neighborhoods to identify another property in the neighborhood it can fix up.

Flacke said he was happy to hear the project would receive more funding.

“We’re very grateful to have the city support our agency,” Flacke said. “We’ve had support from the council and the mayor for many years. The work we do together to fix up the city, we’re very appreciative for.”

The city also proposed to take $1,500 from public works projects and give it to the Vale Urban Farm for that organization's community garden project, bringing it up to a total of $3,500 in HUD funding support.

Melissa MacKinnon, the farm’s garden educator, said some of the funds will be used to create a children’s play area. While the children do get involved in some of the gardening, she said there is always the possibility they can get bored.

The farm originally asked for $19,000 in funding, which MacKinnon said would help give residents access to locally produced food and education about how to cook and preserve it. The plan is to still go forward with that project, but MacKinnon said it will be scaled back.

“We need to sit down and see how we will best use that (funding),” MacKinnon said.

The public comment period on the proposed funding allocations, which can be viewed at cityofschenectady.com/195/development, end on July 6.

Comments can be sent to to the city’s Department of Development at City Hall, Room 14, Schenectady, N.Y. 12305.

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