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Franklin considers how target block grant dollars

City must complete application by mid-July

June 24, 2014

Franklin — The common council agreed June 17 on a target date of July 1 — its next scheduled meeting — to review ideas for the city's Community Development Block Grant funds for 2015.

The city's grant application deadline to Milwaukee County is July 15.

CDBG funds that flow from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to the county, and eventually to local governments, are earmarked for projects that support local residents who are in a low-income group, including, by definition, seniors and the disabled.

Varying funds and purpose

Director of Administration Mark Luberda said the city generally receives $50,000 annually, though that number has varied over the years, from the $40,000 to more than $89,000.

The most recent projects include construction of a sidewalk from the Care Meadows senior residence to Drexel Avenue, installation of an accessible path around the city's historic buildings, a fire alarm system, and support of programs offering travel and home support for seniors.

Luberda told the council on June 17 that rules governing CDBG allocations may be changing. There is a possibility that the county will require applications with larger projects within a municipality or projects that stretch beyond geographical boundaries.

"We are anticipating for next calendar year, which is a little odd in that we have to submit now," Luberda told the council.

Ideas at hand

Veteran council members and those recently appointed had suggestions in how CDBG funds could be used in 2015.

New 4th District Ald. Janet Evans emphasized the need to serve a growing senior population.

"The 2010 census showed that those 65 and older were 13 percent of the population, and in 2025 we are expected to have 6,900 seniors," Evans said. "It's important that we start thinking about that in general."

She also asked how the city can help support seniors through more educational programs, possibly focusing on how to shop for more nutritional foods and help in finding their way to the Milwaukee County Courthouse.

Veteran 3rd Dist. Ald. Kristen Wilhelm said she has advocated for better pedestrian access across College Avenue for seniors.

In response to those and other suggestions, Luberda noted an additional avenue of supporting programs comes from the regular budget process.

Public involvement

He later told the newspaper that the public has an opportunity to add to the list of potential city approved CDBG project or projects. Those interested should contact his office prior to the July 1 common council meeting.

"We would advise that those with ideas to contact my office so that we can review them and provide feedback, including whether they are eligible for the funds," Luberda said.

The Department of Administration is located in City Hall, 9229 W. Loomis Road, and can also be contacted by calling (414) 858-1100.

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