By ANN BELCHER
BROCTON - Despite many dollars being filtered down state toward Hurricane Sandy relief, the village will put its hat in the ring for any HUD monies available that could revitalize the appearance of the village.
OBSERVER Photo by Ann Belcher
Applications are being prepared for grant opportunities that could assist with deteriorating buildings, especially the former hardware store at 10 E. Main Street in Brocton.
Eileen Powers, director of Housing Rehabilitation Services for CHRIC was on hand last week for an official public hearing to let homeowners in the village know that the grant opportunities exist.
"A funding source is available through the Community Development Block Grant program and our purpose tonight is to let everyone know what the requirements are," stated Powers.
"HUD monies are distributed to cities such as Jamestown, Dunkirk, Buffalo and Rochester, and cities automatically have their own entitlements. HUD splits the dollar distributions for everyone else. Eligible uses of CDBG funding include: decent and hazard free affordable housing; access to safe drinking water; proper disposal of household wastewater; access to community needed services in local facilities; and the fostering of microenterprise and economic activities through support of projects that create and/or retain permanent employment opportunities that principally benefit low and moderate income persons."
While Mayor Dave Hazelton inquired about two problem areas in the village at this time: the deterioration of the J.M. Kaplan Community Center at the Brocton Fire Hall; (which the board officially closed Wednesday) and 10 E. Main St., Powers indicated other alternatives would exist for those two buildings.
Because CDBG funds have to be associated with residential properties, neither of the two concern buildings would qualify, but she did encourage the village to follow through with applications for the 2013 Main Street Grant Program and Rural Area Revitalization Project opportunities that may address both buildings. CDBG funding would be aimed strictly at owner occupied residences in need of help.
Powers noted that she and her staff will be in Brocton over the weekend doing drive-by assessments of residential properties to determine exactly who would benefit the most from the application process. Homeowners are encouraged to notify the Village Clerk's office if they would like to have their property added to a pre-application list should the grant funding be awarded to Brocton. Specific requirements qualify homeowners for funding, including income requirements, as well as owner occupied year round residency, which would disqualify rental properties. Powers explained rental properties are disqualified to prevent unfair "flipping" of properties with monies aimed at assisting low income residents.
Regarding the condition of 10 E. Main St., the mayor proposed a board resolution to obtain an official architectural study of the property by Harrington Architects, who will perform a structural evaluation and determine any emergent security or demolition needs. The board passed the resolution and continues to work on a solution to tackle the building's condition. The village has asked new owner Wayne Moore for permission to access the property for this purpose and would like to see its continued blight addressed for the betterment of Main Street.
Board members also resolved to enter into the application process for CDBG funding, as well as Main Street, RARP and New York Main Street Technical Assistance Grant monies to continue revitalization efforts. If Brocton were awarded monies from CDBG funds, it could be announced as early as December of this year allowing for construction to take place in summer 2014.
"If anyone believes they qualify or knows anyone who could use the help with their property, I would encourage them to get on the pre-application list," concluded Powers.
She may be reached directly at CHRIC with any questions, or residents can visit the CHRIC website at chric.org for more information.