Arnold Council seeks ideas for spending $300K in federal money
Arnold Council is considering using a portion of its 2019 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for improvements to Roosevelt Park.
Council approved Tuesday a CDBG proposal that provides about $16,300 for improvements to the park, located at the intersection of Constitution Boulevard and Drey Street. That amounts to about 5.5% of the nearly $300,000 federal block grant that Redevelopment Director Rick Rayburg said the city is eligible to receive.
The biggest chunk of the grant, about $115,000 or about 38%, will be used for repaving Freeport Road.
In addition to the park upgrades, the rest of the proposal includes more than $48,000 for demolition; $40,000 for firefighting equipment; $25,000 toward repaying of a redevelopment loan; and close to $54,000 for administrative costs.
Rayburg urged residents who attended Tuesday to provide input on how to spend the federal block grant money.
Marie Schaub of the city’s Recreation Committee,asked that recreation be considered.
In particular, Schaub said the Roosevelt Park recreation building needs interior improvements to make it suitable for activities for the city’s children. She said the linoleum floor is peeling up and the walls could use some paneling.
“It’s a nice resource to have, but it could be so much better,” Schaub said.
In addition, she asked for more electrical power to the park in order to have lighting in the pavilion as well as security cameras to help ease the vandalism that has plagued the park.
Rayburg said that the initial proposal would leave only about $6,000 for recreation, which would make that allocation problematic.
“What’s difficult is CDBG is trying to get rid of small projects,” he said, usually those in the $5,000 to $10,000 range.
Firemen OK with shifting funds to Roosevelt Park
Councilman Joseph Bia asked Brian Gouza, assistant chief for Arnold Company No. 1, and Keith Dziobak, chief of Arnold Company No. 2, if they could get by with $20,000 each in order to provide an additional $10,000 for the Roosevelt Park.
Both men said their companies would try to make that work.
Gouza said the reduction likely would mean that new hose would be bought for only one fire engine instead of two.
Dziobak said that Arnold No. 2 would probably buy only two new air tanks, which he said cost around $7,000 each, instead of three. He said it may be possible to get them at a lower cost and get a third tank if No. 2’s officials can find another fire company that is buying more tanks and possibly piggyback onto its purchase.
Regoli suggested packaging the improvements Schaub mentioned along with any others that may be needed to present them as part of one Roosevelt Park project. McKinley said an electrical upgrade is needed at the park bandshell and could be included.
Freeport Road would be paved through Arnold
Rayburg said the $115,000 allocated in 2019 for Freeport Road will be combined with $90,000 allocated for it in last year’s grant to do the entire length of Freeport Road through Arnold.
“We didn’t have enough to budget it all last year,” he said.
He said the federal CDBG funds have become important to helping the city get rid of blight through demolition projects. The scheduled demolition of 10 deteriorated structures that is about to begin within a few weeks, has been funded almost exclusively through CDBG allocations.
As for the loan payment, Rayburg said the city borrowed about $300,000 to tear down buildings in the 1300 block of Third Avenue and acquire the properties in order to make way for a business area that now boasts two businesses.
The second CDBG hearing will take place at the Aug. 20 council meeting, Rayburg said.