Forums scheduled on block grant funding, Oct. 1

Mayor Ken Cockayne in a press release today announced a community forum to address future Federal Community Development Block Grant funding.

The forum will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 1 at the Bristol Public Library at 5 High St. Three time slots are available for public convenience from 8 to 10 a.m., noon to 2 p.m., and 6 to 8 p.m. in Meeting Room 2.

Citizen participation is needed to formulate the priorities for Bristol’s new five-year CDBG Consolidated Plan for 2015-2020, said the mayor’s release. The Bristol Development Authority uses these priorities to evaluate annual requests for CDBG funding. The city receives approximately $500,000 each year from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to allocate and administer CDBG programs. The administrative framework, mandated by Federal law, is the Con Plan.

“The priorities are essential to writing an effective Con Plan,” Cockayne said, according to the press release. “Making funding decisions would be an impossible task without having a consensus on community needs in Bristol.”

Current Con Plan priorities for 2010-2015 include residential housing rehabilitation, public service program support, West End neighborhood improvements, public housing modernization, public facility improvements, and funding for commercial rehabilitation, said the release.

The city hopes to hear from many service providers, non-profit organizations, and homeowners who have benefitted from CDBG funds, said the release. Some examples of projects that have been partially funded are stocking the Christian Fellowship Center Storehouse food pantry, installing the elevator at the CarouselMuseum, and assisting the Bristol Boys and Girls Club satellite at CambridgePark.

Anyone with a question or comment about CDBG is invited to stop in during a time slot that is convenient for them.

Howard Schmelder, vice-chair of the BDA Board explained, according to the press release, “Your voice is important to the process and to the order of funding priority for the next five years. We have to make strategic decisions about what we as a city can support with CDBG funds.”