11/07/06 — Council might use HUD funds for project

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Council might use HUD funds for project

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on November 7, 2006 1:45 PM

With their attention still focused on potential funding sources for the Paramount Theater and Community Building reconstruction projects, Goldsboro City Council got some good news Monday -- Community Development Block Grant money can be used for some costs associated with the estimated $14 million undertaking.

Community Development coordinator Wilmur Conyers told council members Monday that costs associated with demolition of property located on the future site of the Community Building can be paid through CDBG funds.

"As far as the demolition of blight, using these funds is OK," she said.

Council members also are seeking to use CDBG money for the acquisition of the property itself, they said -- two parcels along Center Street worth $450,000.

But Mrs. Conyers was quick to add that the fate of that idea will be determined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"I want to be very clear about this," she said. "Demolition, or the clearing of blight, is an acceptable activity. We can do that. But, if the city is entertaining the idea of wanting to be reimbursed for the acquisition of property, obviously that will be contingent on the approval of HUD."

Approval that will come only after city officials provide a plan outlining the design, location and purpose of the building, she added.

"Basically, we need to provide to HUD an idea of what we're planning to do," Mrs. Conyers said, adding money would only be awarded if proof that the project is for the benefit of low to moderate income families is provided.

"For example, are we going to be providing any programs at this facility designed for the low to moderate population? Those are the kinds of things we'll need to show."

Council member Jackie Warrick said he is in favor of meeting whatever guidelines HUD has established -- as long as it means a reduced bottom line.

"Let's do whatever we've got to do," he said.

Council members asked that Mrs. Conyers and other staff begin putting together the data required by HUD.

City Manager Joe Huffman said he feels the city has enough data to back its claim that the building will serve the demographic identified by HUD and justify spending CDBG funds on the purchase of those properties.

"We'll get with Neil (Bartlett) and we should be able to have everything together in a few days," he said. "Now, I don't know how long it's going to take HUD, but we can get it to them very soon."