By Jessica Mathews /

The City of Fenton has identified potential projects for federal grant funding.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or HUD provides Community Development Block Grant funds for a wide variety of activities. Those are mostly aimed at revitalizing neighborhood, encouraging economic development and improving community facilities and services in low to moderate income areas. Conditions stipulate that funds be used for different activities that provide benefit to low and moderate income persons and households and/or aid in the prevention or elimination of slums or blight conditions.

The City was notified that it is projected to receive CDBG funds in the amount of $88,708 over a three year period from 2022-2024. That marks an increase from the City’s previous award of approximately $26,000. Council discussed the City’s application at a work session held Monday night. A public hearing was already held at a prior Council meeting.

City staff has recommended that the majority of funding or $65,000 would go toward acquisition of several properties with the potential for demolition due to blight conditions in various locations around the City, with properties to be determined. $13,708 would go toward a Home Improvement Program administered by the Genesee County Metropolitan Planning Commission that allows residential property owners to apply based on income status and other factors to qualify for essential repairs such as windows, roofs, and hot water heaters. The remaining $10,000 would go toward parks programming for senior citizens through Southern Lakes Parks and Recreation.

Councilman Scott Grossmeyer told members that he’s familiar with the home improvement program from when he served on the fire board. He called it a wonderful program, saying minor projects are done to homes in need of repair but those doing the work also make sure when they leave that everything is up to code – so if there’s a leaky roof or faulty wiring or plumbing, they’ll go through and make all of the improvements the property needs.

The City is currently finishing up its third year of CDBG funds awarded from 2019-2021. A memo states that one of the items that became very apparent with the grant process was the need to have projects and programs that will not only be important to the community but doable for implementation and ultimately, successful.

Assistant City Manager Michael Hart told Council that what shaped his recommendations was the requirement to help low moderate income persons, which includes the senior population. Hart noted that when you get into certain programs dealing with prevailing wage and other related issues, it becomes very complicated. Hart said what he’s finding is that there are other local units of government that submit projects but can’t make it through the vetting process. He said the City has put together the pre-application, conducted a public hearing and is not running in to some of the stumbling blocks other municipalities have; adding he feels what he recommended is a reasonable balance that is workable and doable to benefit the city and community.

Following discussion, Council approved a motion in favor of administration’s recommendations for allocation of CDBG funding for next three years and application submittal.