Resident ‘disappointed’ about allocation.
The city has applied for a grant to build two sidewalks and pave a Central Park trail, projects recommended by the Neighborhood Improvement Advisory Board. While the NIAB is confident the projects are the best use of grant funds, at least one resident is disappointed.
The City Commission voted to apply for $145,508 in grant money from Housing and Urban Development, which supplies a priority map for where the money should be spent. Updated every 10 years based on the census, the map shows an area of low-to-moderate income. However, the money can also be spent for local nonprofit organizations, or anywhere in the city for projects that meet the Americans with Disabilities Act.
While last year part of the money was allocated for projects in the priority area, this year they are all outside the boundaries.
“That bothers me,” said Terry Mercer, resident of the area. “I’m disappointed nothing was picked in the neighborhood.”
Last year, Mercer and another resident attended NIAB meetings and were successful in getting improvements to the park at the end of Melrose Street, called Huguenot Park. The approved project calls for a picnic table, shell parking area and ADA access down to the water.
Mercer had also suggested a canoe launch for the park, but the city suggested a canoe launch at Cassan Park instead and the residents agreed.
Mercer said recently she thought improvements could be made to the sidewalk along Beach Street in the area and another pocket park.
Loretta Moisio, city liaison to the board, said recently that the Huguenot Park improvements and canoe launch at Cassen Park are in the plans but still in environmental review.
Citizen input welcome
Moisio said no one from the community attended the meetings this year to offer suggestions. Notices are placed in a local daily newspaper advertising the public meeting, and they are also on the city’s calendar which is in the newspaper and on ormondbeach.org. She said input from citizens is welcome at any NAIB meeting. The board meets quarterly, and projects are discussed early in the year.
The board also receives recommendations from city staff.
Board chairman: ‘Best use of funds’
Josh Pringle, chairman of NAIB, said members of the board travel through the HUD priority area at least once a year to determine potential projects. He said the primary focus of the board is the priority area.
He said the board believes the recommendations made this year are the best use of the funds, based on recommendations they received.
The board recommended that two streets, Flormond Avenue and Ramsey Terrace, receive ADA sidewalks. There are currently no sidewalks and they would cost $27,000 and $18,000, respectively.
“We saw a lot of kids on Ramsey and Flormond,” Pringle said. “There are no sidewalks to get to the bus stops.”
He said both the city and the Ormond Beach Housing Authority had pointed out the need for the sidewalks on those streets last year.
The other spending recommended this year is $100,508 for an ADA paved trail around a lake in Central Park at 601 Fleming Avenue. There is currently an unpaved trail.
Pringle said the trail is heavily used, presents a tripping and falling hazard and is important because of the other ADA improvements that have been made in the Central Park Area.
The City Commission approved the funding application on May 17, and the priority area is in Troy Kent’s zone.
“Occasionally I am okay with spending some of those dollars in other area of our city where ADA needs are a priority,” he wrote in an email. “Residents from our CDBG area do utilize these ADA/park areas as well.”
The approval of this year’s application by the City Commission means that the application has been sent to Volusia County which will submit them to HUD for approval. If approved, they would be done in 2017.