On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it will award $456,368 in fiscal year 2018 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding for the City of Hot Springs. This represents a 17% increase over 2017 funding of $389,355, and a 24% increase in formula allocations since 2016. The increase came as a surprise to city staff, particularly after earlier signs from Congress seemed to point towards budget cuts for the program.
The additional funds will enable the city to support the construction of Habitat for Humanity homes, provide additional building improvements at Ouachita Children’s Center for at-risk youth, continue homebuyer education classes, and purchase playground equipment for the new pocket park on Pleasant Street. Other planned projects include, but are not limited to, historic restoration activities at the John Lee Webb House; sidewalk and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) improvements on Malvern Avenue, Garden and Cedar Streets; and a bus shelter at Central and Crestwood. All project proposals submitted by the community for FY2018 funds can be reviewed at https://www.cityhs.net/563/Community-Development .
“I’d like to thank our mayor and city directors and our Community Development Advisory Committee for their strong support of the CDBG program,” City Manager David Frasher stated. “City staff has done an outstanding job with this program, making it one of the best of its kind in the state. The sizeable funding increase will greatly enhance our city’s ability to implement affordable housing, community and economic development projects benefiting low- to moderate-income neighborhoods in the older parts of Hot Springs.”
“The key to Hot Springs’ success in executing the CDBG Program is the citizen-led Community Development Advisory Committee, composed of members Terry Kent, Leslie Ramsey, Kelly Thomason and Kelly Cowart,” noted Planning & Development Director Kathy Sellman. “They invest a great deal of time, energy and thought into proposal review and prioritization every year. These dedicated volunteers ensure that the city’s recommended priorities align with program objectives and resident needs.”
Residents are invited to attend the Community Development Advisory Committee meeting at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, May 15 in the Board Chambers at City Hall, 133 Convention Boulevard, during which the 2018 Annual Action Plan will be available for review and comment. For additional information, contact Frasher at 321-6811.