A public hearing was held at last week’s Page City Council meeting to hear ideas about the use of Community Development Block Grant funds, which Page is due to receive next year.
The lone proposal came from City of Page Planning Director Zach Montgomery, who suggested that the funds be used for revitalizing the Senior Citizens Center.
“City staff is recommending that we do the Senior Center revitalization and equipment replacement project, which essentially fixes the sewer issues that are creating the smell at the Senior Center, reroof, patch and regutter the roof, which is in dire need of repair,” Montgomery said.
The project also includes providing patio access to the seniors, purchasing new equipment for the kitchen and dining room areas, and repairing or replacing the center’s van, which transports seniors around town and is also used for the meals on wheels program.
Isabel Rollins from the Northern Arizona Council of Governments (NACOG) was present at the Nov. 17 council meeting to give an overview of the CDBG, which provides funds for housing and community development activities in rural Arizona.
The funds are administered by the Arizona Department of Housing, while NACOG administers the planning of the annual allocations and provides technical assistance for the grants.
“CDBG funds come to the state every year. The way that they’re distributed in the rural areas of our state is we’ve established rotation cycles, so Page gets funding allocated to it every five years. Next year is Page’s year,” Rollins said.
“We are estimating the funds at about $290,000 or $300,000. We won’t know exactly what the funding is until all the budget things are completed at the federal level. We usually get the exact allocation amount between January and March, but we’ve gotten it as late as May. Hopefully we’ll get that sooner rather than later.”
To be eligible for CDBG funding, a project must meet at least one of three national objectives: serving at least 51% low-to-moderate-income persons, aiding in the prevention or elimination of slums or blight, or solving an urgent-need health hazard.
“Most of the projects end up serving low-to-moderate-income persons,” Rollins said, adding that funding can be used for a range of purposes, including public works and safety projects, public services, or neighborhood revitalization and redevelopment.
“Projects that Page has done in the past are sewer projects, street improvements, Senior Center improvements, accessibility improvement projects,” she said. “Last round, we did some accessibility improvement projects at the city park by the airport.”
Rollins said the city council has the final authority and responsibility to pick projects that most fit the community’s housing and development needs. The city cannot apply for any project that was not brought up at last week’s public hearing.
“The most important thing tonight is to get potential projects on the record that you’re interested in, and the public is also able to present an idea for a project. Either the public, city council or staff, anyone can name a potential project for the funding,” she said.
However, no members of the public provided ideas or input at the meeting, leaving the Senior Citizens Center revitalization project as the lone option for the funding.