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Recovery projects funded by CDBG-DR grants receive final approva - KOAM TV 7

Recovery projects funded by CDBG-DR grants receive final approval by Council

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

Rebuilding and recovery continue for Joplin, and with a recent determination of how $97 million will be allocated, 12 more projects will be moving forward for completion. To reach this step, City staff reviewed over 40 potential projects and the City Council reviewed a pared down list of 24 projects that were eligible for the funds from the Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program before setting the project prioritization list for the recovery efforts. (see table below) The CDBG-DR program is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and comes with a multitude of regulations and monitoring requirements.

City staff and Deloitte, Inc., the consultant firm hired to assist the City with the capital planning process and funding regulation adherence, had researched and provided key information to each project regarding costs, stakeholders, areas of benefits and potential risks in preparation of the presentation to Council at the June work session. Council members studied this information for about a week before they reconvened to provide their input and prioritize the projects.

“All projects on the list were good projects,” said Joplin Mayor Mike Seibert. “However, the funding to do all of them is just not available, and we had to make some choices. I was pleased how we were able to discuss the priorities and complete the list with 12 projects identified that will address the critical areas of the four primary areas of focus.”

The primary areas of concentration include: Infrastructure & Environment; Housing & Neighborhoods; Schools & Community Facilities; and Economic Development. More details on the 12 projects in this listing, as well those that had already been approved for disaster funding can be found on the City’s website at www.joplinmo.org.

“With a wide variety of projects as our focus, I and the Council are confident that Joplin’s recovery will continue with the success we’ve experienced these past four years,” said Mayor Seibert.

In October, 2012, HUD awarded $45 million to the City for recovery work following the disaster in May 2011. In March 2013, HUD announced an additional $113 million had been allocated to the City of Joplin to support long-term disaster recovery efforts in areas with the greatest extent of ‘unmet needs.’

Of the $158 million awarded to Joplin, prior to this decision, the City previously utilized and/or allocated approximately $40 million in funding for various projects thus far, including the Joplin Housing Assistance Program, construction of a public park, relocation of Crosslines Community Center, infrastructure projects, and senior housing and housing repair assistance programs. HUD also allows for 5% of the funds to be used for administrative costs and 15% for the planning and execution of community development activities. The City, and Deloitte, Inc., has estimated that these activities would total 11 percent or $18 million of the funds to cover the expenses.

Strict guidelines surrounding the use of these federal monies includes that at least 50% of the funds have to be designated for projects supporting citizens who are in the lower to moderate income levels. For the City of Joplin, that amount is $40,400 for a family of four, or $28,300 for an individual. Other rules about eligible uses of the CDBG-DR funds are outlined in a presentation that can be found on the City’s website at www.joplinmo.org, by clicking on the CDBG-DR UPDATES button in the middle of the page, and then moving to “CDBG-DR Intro and Proposed Projects” located at the top of the list.

The list of proposed projects had been compiled by the City staff and the City’s consultants utilizing numerous planning documents, such as the City’s Comprehensive Plan, Joplin Area Transportation Study Organization (JATSO) Plan, Trails Master Plan, Parks and Recreation survey results, and the plan developed by the CART (Citizens Active in Recovery Team) quickly after the disaster. In addition, City staff and Deloitte members met with various community stakeholders regarding specific projects to gather and analyze more detailed information about them. With this data, City staff and Deloitte consultants were able to identify eligible projects that could be completed with the $97 million.

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