Carson City supervisors decided to go ahead with a list of projects Thursday that included fixing the Blue Line Trail for its first $536,000 allocation of federal Housing and Urban Development economic development funds.
After debating the intent of HUD Community Development Block Grant funding, supervisors decided to eliminate a $50,000 revolving loan fund for start-up businesses and use the money to seed a project to provide water infrastructure on the east side for future development and affordable housing.
Projects recommended for funding include:
-- A $109,000 project to improve the Blue Line Trail to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards
-- Provide $79,600 for sidewalk improvements on Saliman and Deer Run roads
-- A $10,000 housing energy efficiency report
-- A $45,000 playground for Fritsch Elementary School
-- A $35,000 grant for the Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada
-- Spend $55,000 on a wireless network to provide free Internet access downtown
-- Spend $35,000 on legal services for low-income seniors
-- A $10,000 grant for medical assistance for the homeless population
Supervisors voted unanimously to recommend the projects to the federal housing program for final approval, along with a five-year plan to address Carson City's needs.
Mayor Ray Masayko and Supervisor Richard Staub were against spending money on the Blue Line Tour, revolving loan program and downtown wireless network.
"I, for one, have not ha a level of comfort with the Blue Line ADA improvements," Masayko said. "God knows, those things need to be done. To me, we're stretching it."
Carson received its first allocation of CDBG funds this year after qualifying with more than 50,000 residents.
The economic development program provides cities flexibility to choose many types of projects, as long as they serve a neighborhood composed mostly of moderate- or low-income residents.
Funding can be used for programs that include economic development, job creation, home ownership and social programs for those residents.
Housing is not a priority for Carson City, though, because it receives housing funding from other sources, officials said.
Supervisor Shelley Aldean said it was HUD's decision to approve Carson City's list. She said other housing funding was available and the city's funds should be spent on job creation to cure homelessness.
"Based on my calculations, 27 percent of the housing stock is affordable," Aldean said. "And that's pretty good. There is a nexus between curing homelessness and creating jobs. We don't want to foster a community of dependency."
City Economic Development and Redevelopment manager Joe McCarthy said he will continue to work on getting comments from the community. The city is creating a resident participation plan for future years, he said. Some supervisors said they wanted to see future projects that are more in keeping with HUD funding intentions.
"We really need a community health clinic," Masayko said. "We ought not to miss the boat on that next year."
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