City Planning Administrator Stacy Gibbens said she received word Thursday a grant application for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) has been approved.
"The city is receiving $1,435,350 from the grant through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA)," Gibbens said. "It is about half of what the city had requested so we will have to review the area to best utilize the funding."
The initial area was slated to be west of Depot Street, between United States 40 and Hendrix Street.
"We will try to focus on a single area which is in the greatest need for housing rehabilitation," she said. "We would rather have a big impact in a centralized area rather than a small impact that is more spread out."
Gibbens said she and Kenna Consulting and Management Group, Inc., Indianapolis, Vice President Angie Pappano are planning to get together in the next week or two to determine the best plan for action. Pappano was the grant administrator for the application, which was submitted March 13.
"One of the things encouraged by the IHCDA is that we not only use this funding to rehabilitate homes, but also for an area for community activities," Gibbens told The Brazil Times Friday. "This means there is the potential we could use some of the funds for the concrete and fencing for the skatepark, if it is decided to be built in the area we are looking at."
While the grant has been approved, there is still much work to be done.
Gibbens said the city will have to make a request for bids for the administration of the grant funding.
"There are other grants out there we can also seek to obtain so the city can continue moving forward in its effort toward overall beautification," she said.
When conducting the initial study of the area, it was found there were 146 properties, 40 of which were considered blighted.
Gibbens added there are multiple options available the city could use the funding for, including rehabilitating homes for resale, acquiring available vacant land for development and the demolition of dilapidated homes to rebuild new ones, although she said they would not tear down a home unless it was vacant and in bad shape or uninhabitable.
"The money from this grant can be used for up to four years," Gibbens told The Brazil Times. "Also we can recycle funds the city may receive from the selling of new homes into the rehabilitation of others, as long as they are in the same specified area."