County approves grant application for Bethel Heights improvement

Published 5:21 pm Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Decatur County Board of Commissioners approved a grant resolution at its meeting Tuesday that will help develop the Bethel Heights community in Decatur County.

Located off of Bethel Road, Decatur County Commission Chairman Pete Stephens said the neighborhood of 50-plus homes had severe drainage issues that needed to be addressed quickly.

The roads themselves are also a problem. Their narrowness makes it difficult to pass other vehicles, and the curbs are insufficient.

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“People are having a hard time passing there,” Stephens said. “They need an uplifted community, and we feel like that would help uplift it.”

The Community Development Block Grant Application funds projects including program activities for housing, public facilities, economic development and a combination of house and public facilities.

The maximum grant amount for housing grants is $750,000. The maximum grant for public facilities such as water, sewer, drainage, streets and building (senior centers, head start centers and health departments) is $750,000. Recipients of this grant must provide a 5 percent cash match for all funds received above $300,000.

Economic development grants go up to $750,000 with the same matching requirements as public facility type projects.

Multi-activity grants are also available. These grants are for projects that involved both housing and public facility improvements. The maximum grant amount is $1 million. The first $300,000 received in the award is match free. The next $450,000 received requires a 5 percent cash match. Any funds above $500,000 require a 10 percent cash match.

Around 200 applications are submitted by Georgia cities and counties for the Community Development Block Grant every year. Applications are scored based on demographic need, program feasibility, program strategy and leverage of local resources. To be considered for funding, projects must benefit, at a minimum, 70 percent low-and-moderate-income persons.