The project was one of 10 to recently gain a $1 million 2010 consent award through the federal home loan program. The selected projects were awarded the funds through the Department of Community Affairs.
There are still many steps to go through to secure the necessary funding for the entire project, though.
Now, the city is looking for a way to repair two residential structures near the old O’Jay Mills location that do not meet CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) specifications. Surrounding residential and commercial buildings must be free of dilapidation. The houses in question need boards and windows replaced, as well as a new coat of paint, said City Administrator Eddie Peterson.
While this step may not be pivotal, it’s important.
“I don’t know that (failing to repair the houses) would kill the project,” said Eddie Peterson.
The external appearance of the structures “takes points off” the project, said Downtown Development Authority Director Suzanne Roland of the point system DCA uses to value projects.
The city is looking for volunteers to help fix the houses, instead of assigning the task to city workers.
“The main thing (is), I can’t go on to private property and spend city money,” said Peterson.
Also during the Monday, June 12, meeting, council members: