Dunkirk’s CDBG Annual Action Plan discussed at hearing

The future plans for the city of Dunkirk were carefully laid out in a 44-page document and passed out to interested residents.

The Community Development Block Grant public hearing took place at noon on Friday.

“We had a rather large plan this year,” City of Dunkirk Department of Development Director Steve Neratko explained to the public. “We started this year later than normal because there was a delay in funds. We have a rather large program this year and will look to spend $1,659,075, which is almost four years worth of projects.”

CDBG Program Administrator Nicole Waite added the project was carefully planned around the two biggest target areas: Washington Park (a nine-block surrounding area) and Eastern Entrance ( area along Route 5 and 60) “The way we went about choosing projects is to pick out the priorities in the plan that were most needed,” she said. “The public hearings we had in November and December talked about the need for park development and making them safer. The majority of this need is in housing development, street repairs and park development.”

There will be room for more public comments until May 16 at noon on the concerns or ideas for how to use this funding. Any comments can be sent to Waite at Attn: CDBG Administrator, 342 Central Ave., Dunkirk NY 14048 or email nwaite@cityofdunkirk.com.

A breakdown of the planned projects, costs, and brief description of work is as follows:

Housing Development

Owner Occupied Housing Rehabilitation – $362,500

Description: The purpose of this project is to rehabilitate owner- occupied housing units to create safer, healthier, and happier living environments within the city of Dunkirk. Some 65 low-income homes will benefit from this if approved.

Rental Rehabilitation – $50,000

Description: There will be about 19 low- income rental units operated by the Chautauqua County Rural Ministries, which may see rehabilitation.

Demolition – $185,235

Description: Under this program about 10 vacant residential properties in the two above- mentioned target areas will be demolished.

Direct Homeownership Assistance – $18,315

Description: Chautauqua Opportunities Inc. will provide an eight- hour HomeBuyer Education Class to 20 low- income individuals/ families. Down payment and closing cost assistance will be provided to the first three or five participants that become mortgage ready to purchase homes in the city.

Streets Improvement

Streets Improvements – $797,783

Description: Residential streets located with the target areas mentioned will be milled and repaved. The East Sixth Street water line from Central Avenue to Route 60 will also be redone.

Park Development

Park Development – $26,272

Description: To increase the use and safety for residents this program intends to provide park development and streetscape enhancements for Washington and Pangolin Parks; including benches, trash cans, trees, and/or signage.

Other things

Employment Training – $5,000

Description: Chautauqua Works Inc. will recruit five to seven low- income interns to work four days a week at a local business to gain more work experience. Interns will report to Chautauqua Works one day a week to build work skills, leadership skills, and critical thinking skills.

Youth Services – $12,435

Description: This Boys & Girls Club after school program will promote exploration and research into broad career areas for 35 youths ages 8 through 14.

Senior Facilities – $10,000

Description: Necessary repairs to the Senior Center facility to make it safer and more secure for the 300 residents that need service and participate at activities to this location.

Meals on Wheels – $7,535

Description: This program is operated through Dunkirk- Fredonia Meals on Wheels to provide home delivered meals for 20 seniors that are unable to cook due to physical or mental limitations.

Planning and Administration – $184,000

Description: This would include the costs of administering the CDBG program and for the development of community plans and studies.

Hard copies of an in-depth draft of this plan can be found in the Development Office or at the City’s website www.dunkirktoday.com.

Residents spoke at the public hearing about dangerous roads, burned down buildings being put to better use and repairs to fire halls.

“We can’t expect another $1 million,” Neratko said. “We need to use this grant wisely.”

Right now the vision is to work on short term projects and have an outlined plan on projects that need to be done shortly.

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