06/02/04 — Goldsboro makes plans to improve blighted areas

View Archive

Goldsboro makes plans to improve blighted areas

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on June 2, 2004 2:03 PM

City Council members want a list of Goldsboro's blighted areas, so the city can create a plan to clean up the neighborhoods.

The topic came up during a budget workshop Tuesday, while City Manager Richard Slozak gave an overview of the Community Development Block Grant program.

Councilman Chuck Allen wanted to know what money might be available through the CDBG or HOME programs to revitalize neighborhoods.

The U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department awards money to carry out a wide range of community development activities directed toward revitalizing neighborhoods, economic development, and providing improved community facilities and services. The community must give priority to activities that benefit low- and moderate-income people.

Linda Bullock, administrator of the Community Development Block Grant program in Goldsboro, explained that there were strict guidelines on how the money could be spent.

"You can't do any new construction with CDBG funds," she explained. "Modular homes are considered reconstruction, and if you leave the foundation of a house and rebuild it, that's considered reconstruction."

Most of the houses eligible for the program have foundation problems, she added, making them ineligible for reconstruction.

The HOME funds can be used for new construction, but there must be a buyer, she said. The property can't be developed without a buyer in place.

Allen said he knew that the CDBG program was targeting houses that needed rehabilitation, but he believed it was being done on a "scattered site" basis.

He said he believed that the city needed to take a lead in identifying blighted areas and developing a vision to revitalize and redevelop those areas.

Slozak said the city had already identified blighted areas.

"Who identified them?" Allen asked.

When Slozak replied that the council had, Allen said that the decision must have occurred before he came on board in 1998.

"I'd like to see a list of those areas," Allen said, and the other councilmen agreed.

Once they look at the list, Allen suggested they come up with a plan and work with other organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity, in developing blighted areas.

Ms. Bullock also explained to the council that 15 percent of the CDBG money can go to public service programs. Goldsboro gives money to after-school programs for a variety of organizations, including Dillard Middle School, and several programs through the Goldsboro Housing Authority.

She said that the 100 children participating in the program are tracked, and that the "pass rate" in school is between 98 to 99 percent.

"This is one of the best uses of public services money," she said.