By Nick Nunn staff writer
The Madison City Council voted in favor of a resolution to submit an application for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for neighborhood revitalization. The application will list eight dilapidated or substandard properties on Madison’s Pearl Street that will receive rehabilitation funds from the grant.
Madison Planning Director Monica Callahan stated that the city will be requesting a $200,000 grant and will receive assistance from the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission (NEGRC) in preparing the grant application, which is due on April 1.
Callahan explained earlier in the week during a meeting of the Downtown Development Authority of Madison (DDA) that the city applied for a similar grant last year but could not receive it because of Madison’s ongoing CDBG application for stormwater in the Canaan neighborhood.
Neighborhood revitalization CDBG grants are intended to benefit low to moderate income households to remove slum and blight cases while addressing immediate threats and dangers. She said that the grant will apply federal funds to residences in need to rehabilitation in order to meet code and ADA standards.
Owner occupied residences will receive 97 percent of the costs of rehabilitation from the grant, allowing property owners to rehabilitate their homes for only 3 percent of the total construction cost. Properties owned by landlords will receive 50 percent of the construction costs but will also have to enter a 15-year agreement to keep the cost of renting the property low.
853 Pearl Street, 763 Pearl Street, and 755 Pearl Street are the owner-occupied residences listed in the grant application, while 835 Pearl Street, 852 Pearl Street, and 944 Pearl Street are the properties in the application that are owned by investor/landlords. Two additional properties, 722 Pearl Street and 916 Pearl Street will receive grant funds for demolition purposes.
In addition to the grant funds, the DDA will invest approximately $42,000 in two of the properties: 722 Pearl Street and 852 Pearl Street. $15,500 is allocated toward acquisition funds for each property, $2,750 is set aside for demolition at 722 Pearl Street, and $8,250 is available for rehabilitation at 852 Pearl Street.
Madison will also contribute $9,000 for management fees if the city receives the grant. Nina Kelly, project planner for NEGRC, spoke to the city council last Friday about the grant. Kelly prepared the grant last year for the city and received notice only this February that the city would be eligible to apply again this year.
She said that she has been “working strenuously” to make sure the grant application would be ready in time. “I do believe this is a good, worthwhile project,” said Kelly. She pointed out that Madison scored highly enough with last year’s application to merit acceptance and said that she believes that this year’s application should be no different. Kelly also praised the city’s willingness to “tap” the CDBG funding source. Seconding Kelly, Callahan stated that the project is “trying to pull some of our tax dollars back to our community.”
Council Member Carrie Peters-Reid asked if the city would be able to apply for additional CDBGs for neighborhood revitalization in order to cover other areas of the city in the future. Callahan said that they would, but, at the current time, the city is just “getting [its] feet wet.”
Kelly added that receiving a CDBG for neighborhood revitalization would also open funding up to the city that would not be available otherwise. “It’s a plus for our community,” said Madison Mayor Fred Perriman.