Columbus, OH – The Franklin County commissioners today joined with elected officials on the state and national levels in passing a resolution designating April 12th through 18th as Community Development Week. This action acknowledges the county’s participation in the Federal Community Development Block Grant Program.
Over the past 30 years, $62 million dollars in Federal Community Development Block Grant funds have been administered by the Franklin County Board of Commissioners to underwrite a myriad of social service, economic development and housing programs in Franklin County’s cities, townships and villages.
“This resolution is meant to acknowledge the partnership that exists among federal, state and local governments in implementing the Community Development Block Grant Program,” said Board of Commissioners’ President Arlene Shoemaker. “On the local level, here in Franklin County, we’ve developed a strong network of relationships with our local municipalities and with many non-profit agencies to provide needed services to our county residents.”
Commissioner Dewey Stokes underscored the significance of this resolution by stating, “Much of our CDBG funding goes straight into our local communities in the form of infrastructure grants. These grants are awarded to Franklin County’s cities, townships and villages to enable them to replace aging infrastructure or to improve their existing infrastructure. During the past two years, CDBG grants have been awarded to the Villages of Obetz and Urbancrest, to Prairie and Clinton Townships, and to Grove City and Hilliard.”
“We’ve used our CDBG funds to launch a very successful effort in the prevention of homelessness within our community,” explained Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy. These federal funds have made possible the joint effort between the City of Columbus and the county to create our Community Shelter Board. Additionally, our Franklin County CDBG funds have been routed to our other community partners in a coordinated approach to homeless service delivery. On the prevention side, these funds have provided emergency rent, mortgage and utility payments to enable families to remain in their homes. And, on the crisis transition side, we have enabled homeless families to leave area shelters and obtain permanent housing by providing the necessary initial rent and deposits as they move back into the community.”
During the last two years, the county has dedicated $230,000 in CDBG monies to its Safety Net Program. During that same time period it has also provided $20,000 to the Community Shelter Board. The Board has used that contribution coupled with a match from Columbus to obtain some six million dollars in grant funding for our countywide homeless prevention effort.
Community Development Block Grant monies are playing a significant role in cleaning up longstanding pockets of pollution in certain areas of the county. These pockets of pollution were created by failing residential septic and aeration systems in rural areas of the county. During 2004, the Franklin County commissioners will undertake the most ambitious series of projects designed to eliminate existing pockets of ground and surface water contamination in the county.
In line with this effort, $100,000 has been set aside this year for completion of the Darbydale Sanitary System installation which will include a modern, state of the art wastewater treatment plant. CDBG monies set aside for a variety of other sewer improvement projects to be undertaken by the County’s Sanitary Engineer this year amount to $312,000. This money will be used to assist low-to-moderate income homeowners in defraying the cost of hooking their homes up to the new sanitary sewer lines.
Another program funded by the commissioners with CDBG monies is the county’s Urgent Repair Program, which provides grants to low-income, single family home owners for the repair or replacement of a major household system that has broken down and where failure to fix the problem would become an immediate threat to the health and safety of household members.