By jeanne starmack
The city is receiving grants totaling $601,700 that will cover revitalization projects in its Parkwood area.
The grants are federal funds that are distributed to the states, said George Zokle of CT Consultants, the city’s engineering firm.
One of the grants is a $300,000 revitalization grant that is very competitive, said Girard Mayor James Melfi.
“The state only gives out 10 a year,” Melfi said. “It’s not an easy grant to receive.” He said the city learned it would receive the money in August. Trumbull County will administer it.
Other sources for seven projects in Parkwood include Community Development Block Grants, which the county also will administer; Community Housing Improvement Program money; and the Home Investment Partnership program, said Zokle. The city will contribute $25,000, he said.
The money must be spent in low- to moderate-income areas. The latest grants will cover street paving, sidewalks, drainage and storm sewers, blight demolition, Stambaugh Park improvements, updates at the city’s multigenerational community center, and funds for homeowners who want to rehabilitate their houses.
A total of $35,000 is set aside for administration by the county and the engineering firm.
Girard has received the revitalization grant for the fourth time in the last 10 years, said Melfi and Zokle.
The first time, the city used the money in Parkwood. The second grant was used in the area west of U.S. Route 422, and the third was used in the central part of the city and to the east.
Melfi said the money gives the city “a much-needed shot in the arm.”
“The [revitalization] grant addresses older neighborhoods, where it’s more noticeable that help is needed,” he said.
Melfi said a popular part of the project will be new sidewalks because fixing a sidewalk is a homeowner’s responsibility. “Some property owners can’t afford it,” he added.
Zokle said his firm will solicit bids for the projects in the spring. He said the city should be able to complete most, if not all, of the projects by November 2014.