After months of resident input, and multiple commission discussions and public hearings, commissioners voted on Nov. 14 to submit its Community Development Block Grant [CDBG] application to obtain funding to build a multi-purpose storage building at Mickel Park.
The money, about $65,000 provided by the federal government, is doled out every year to be given to certain communities with blighted areas. This year, the Highland Estates neighborhood and the neighborhoods west of Andrews Avenue qualified to receive funding.
If approved and built, the building would be used to store equipment for various recreational activities and maintenance equipment. “A storage building would also promote more efficient maintenance operations than having to transport all supplies and equipment from the maintenance facility at Dixie Highway,” wrote Todd DeJesus, capital projects and grants manager, in a memo to the commission.
Usually, city officials attempt to use the funding for something that will improve the quality of life of residents in blighted areas.
“It was suggested at previous public hearings that consideration be given to the development of programs to benefit low-income residents including possible computer training programs. Unfortunately, Broward County has advised the City that no new social service programs may be funded with 44th year allocations,” DeJesus wrote.
At a previous meeting, commissioners expressed a desire to see the city apply to use the funds on something that would provide free WiFi or a way for residents to charge their mobile devices after their electricity is knocked out by a future hurricane or other natural disaster.
Resident Paul Kuta stated the building should be equipped with solar panels.
“I believe this building should be equipped with solar roof panels to reduce utility costs and provide electricity during emergencies.”
Other suggestions for the use of the money included a kayak storage facility at Island City Park Preserve or Donn Eisele Park, shade structures and artificial turf at Donn Eisele, solar-powered public phone charging stations at parks, crosswalks on Powerline Road south of Northwest 29 Street, an emergency generator at Mickel Park, and storm water improvements.
Past uses of CDBG funds include a lift station rebuild, construction of sidewalks, a drainage system, street resurfacing, the construction of a floating dock, purchase and installation of an emergency generator, creation of a parking lot near Island City Park Preserve, and fitness stations.