$2.5M in grants to city, county

By Jessica Cejnar, The Triplicate September 07, 2012 07:00 pm

Sewer project, pool are among the recipients

Del Norte County and Crescent City have received a total of $2.5 million in Community Development Block Grant Funding.

The city received a $2 million grant, which will be used to fund a sewer replacement project, as well as continued operation of the Fred Endert Municipal Pool, the local food bank and the domestic violence shelter, according to City Manager Eugene Palazzo.

Del Norte County received a $500,000 grant, which will be allocated to the Del Norte County Library’s literacy program, the Del Norte Senior Center’s senior nutrition program and Court Appointed Special Advocates, said CDBG grant coordinator Charlaine Mazzei.

The county had originally requested four times the amount it got. In addition to allocating funds to the senior center, the library and CASA, the county had plans to use CDBG funds for road projects and construction projects, said County Administrative Officer Jay Sarina.

According to Palazzo, Rural Human Services’ food bank will be awarded $275,000 while $225,000 will go to the Harrington House Domestic Violence Shelter. Roughly $1.28 million will replace a clay sewer line along Second Street. The Endert Pool will receive $100,000 over a two year period to continue its general operations, Palazzo said.

“It’s really good news,” he said. “We’re really excited about it.”

The Community Development Block Grant program originates with Congress and is filtered through the state, Mazzei said. Crescent City and Del Norte County compete against other sparsely populated rural counties for the same pool of money, she said.

This year instead of scoring entire applications, the state focused on public improvement projects and public service applications separately, Mazzei said. It was easy for the city to show that the Second Street sewer project needed to be completed, she said.

“For the county, public service scored well enough to be funded, but public improvement didn’t score well enough to be funded,” Mazzei said. “The city was lucky to get the whole thing. The Second Street sewer line is a very necessary project.”

One major challenge with the CDBG program is that the pot of money available to cities and counties continues to shrink, Mazzei said.

“It’s becoming more important for people who think this money is necessary to some pretty vital services to start talking to their representatives,” she said. “The money goes to some very good organizations that do a lot of work that maybe goes under the radar a little bit. But without this money, they would have trouble keeping their doors open.”

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