Franklin Poorer, But Now Eligible for City-Wide CDBG Funds

| March 5, 2019

FRANKLIN, Pa (EYT) – In a good news, bad news scenario, the City of Franklin is now eligible to apply for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) that can be applied to the City as a whole.

That was news the City received on Friday, March 1, when it found out that 52.26 percent of the City is now considered low-to-moderate income per CDBG standards.

“The City as a whole is now eligible for area projects,” Sheila Boughner, Community Development Coordinator for the City, told the City Council at its meeting on Monday, March 4. “We can now do projects that benefit the entire city.”

When the City was last evaluated, 43.17 percent of the City was considered low-to-moderate income meaning the City could only use CDBG funds in areas of the City that were a majority low-to-moderate income. But, because of the new designation, CDBG funds can be used for city-wide projects including the paving of major thoroughfares like Buffalo Street and for projects at places like Miller-Sibley Park, because those projects would benefit the entire community, according to Boughner. (Editor’s note: those are just examples of what projects could be done and aren’t actual projects that have been approved at this point).

“It (being over 50 percent low-to-moderate income) is not something you aspire to,” City Manager Tracy Jamieson said. “But, this (designation) helps with what we can do with the money.”

BID ACCEPTED FOR ACCESSIBILITY IMPROVEMENT TO CITY HALL

A bid in the amount of $39,430.00 from Reck Construction, of Oil City, was accepted for the improvements to the Handicap Accessibility at City Hall.

The project will include improvements to two public restrooms, the drinking fountain, and two doorways (the doorway to the lobby and the doorway to the finance department) on the first floor of City Hall to remove barriers to accessibility.

Reck Construction was the low bid of two bids. The other bid was for $41,687.00 by Whalen Constructions Inc., of Franklin.

PARK AND PARADE REQUESTS APPROVED

The following park and parade requests were approved by the Council.

  • April 15, 2019; the courthouse sidewalks by the Tea Party for a rally.
  • April 19, 2019; downtown sidewalks by the Franklin Ministerium for a Good Friday Crosswalk.
  • April 28, 2019; downtown streets and Fountain Park by PPC Violence-Free Network for a Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event.
  • May 4-5, 2019; Fountain Park by Franklin Gardeners Association for May Garden Mart.

OTHER BUSINESS

In other business the Council:

  • Heard from Jamieson that she had a meeting with M&B Services, the contractor on the mid-block crossing project, and that M&B Services believes it can start some of the preliminary work on the project, including the ADA curbs, some concrete work, and the drilling of the foundation for the polls by late March or April. The polls for the new signals won’t arrive for another 16 weeks, according to Jamieson, but she believes the project will still be complete by its September 23, 2019, deadline, in time for 2019 AppleFest.
  • Approved an extension to APC Tower for two more years to a lease to build a cell tower in the City. APC is still waiting on Verizon Wireless’s authorization to build the tower. The extension will run through January 11, 2022, and APC will pay an extra $2,000.00 to the City.
  • Approved a request from the Fraternal Order of Police (FoP) Lodge 50 to pursue a Special Events Liquor License for the Blues & Barbeque Festival being held June 15-16.
  • Approved annual agreements with both the Men’s Softball League and the Franklin Little League for use of Miller-Sibley’s ballfields. Prior to approving the agreements council heard from Herb Bigley, of the Men’s softball league, that the softball league and the Little League are combining their resources to complete the fencing at one of the fields so that it can be used as a Junior League Field. The project had come to a standstill because of the contractor’s schedule, and the fact that the Little League and Softball League were getting such a good deal on the construction. But, they have decided that by combining their resources, they can pay in full for the construction of the fence and provide the Junior League with its own field for the first time in over 40 years (the league had been renting fields from the Franklin and Rocky Grove School Districts). The council also heard from Jamieson that bids are coming in for the upgrades of the bathrooms at Miller-Sibley as well.
  • Heard from Boughner that Venango County has been approved for a $300,000.00 grant that will allow up to 11 qualifying homeowners in the City to have their homes rehabilitated. According to Boughner, the City currently has around 20 interested homeowners and will be doing financial assessments to see if they are eligible for the program. If anyone is interested and thinks they may be eligible they should contact either the City or the County. But they must own their home, live in the home, and be located within the City limits before their financials will even be considered.

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Category: Community, Local News, News