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City Asks How They Should Spend Future Grant Money

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The money won’t be spent until 2019, but Wilton Manors officials want residents to give their input now on how the 44th Community Development Block Grant [CDBG] funds should be spent.

Funded by the federal government, CDBG funds are given out every year. Usually reserved for capital improvement projects, the funds are given to cities with neighborhoods that are experiencing an economic downturn. Highland Estates and the area west of Andrews Avenue and south of the Middle River qualify to receive funds – an estimated $60,000 to $65,000.

“The primary objective of CDBG funds is to assist low to moderate income persons or neighborhoods to improve their quality of life. This may be achieved by developing social programs or through infrastructure improvements,” wrote Todd DeJesus, capital projects and grants manager. DeJesus said there’s a chance the Trump administration might remove CDBG funding, but officials are proceeding under the guise that the funds will be available.

A meeting to solicit opinions on how to spend the CDBG money was held July 19. Only one person attended, said DeJesus, but residents don’t need to attend any meetings to give their input. 

DeJesus said ideas can be emailed directly to him – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. “They can email me every single day.”

The ideas most likely to be adopted, said DeJesus, are ones that don’t require a lot of money for design or engineering. The entire project must be funded with the grant. No city funds will be used to supplement the project.

Sal Torre, president of the Westside Association of Wilton Manors, said a lot of people in his area of the city have stated they want a lighted crosswalk on Powerline Road where Mickel Park is located. His other idea is a kayak storage facility at Island City Park Preserve [ICPP] or Donn Eisele Park. Torre suggested people who use the facility might pay a fee.

Previous grants have been used for improvements to Island City Park Preserve, including “estate style fencing, an emergency generator, a 35 foot floating dock, an addition to the community center building, an artificial turf surface on the playground, a shade structure on the rear deck, fitness stations, a shade structure over the fitness stations, and a basketball court renovation.” The small parking lot close to ICPP was also purchased and developed with CDBG funds.

The next city project to use CDBG funds will be the installation of security cameras at ICPP. The city will be accepting bids for the project. The deadline for firms to apply is Aug. 22. A mandatory meeting, for companies that want to submit a bid, will be held today, Aug. 2.

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