Tusayan to receive $350K in CDBG funds, approves three community projects
TUSAYAN, Ariz. — During a recent town council meeting, the town of Tusayan revealed three community improvement projects they hope to complete with anticipated funds from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). The town is slated to receive around $350,000.
CDBG programs are part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Funding is provided to improve and strengthen both rural and urban communities. Projects can include infrastructure, economic development projects, public facilities installation, community centers, housing rehabilitation and public services, among others.
In an earlier hearing, the town solicited ideas from residents and business owners on projects to improve the town. The ideas that earned the most support included construction of a ramada at the Sports Complex, paving sections of town sidewalks and development of a community garden.
Town Manager Charlie Hendrix said town staff consulted with the Northern Arizona Council of Governments (NACOG), of which Tusayan is a member, to select projects that had the highest chance of being selected for funding.
“After consultation with NACOG staff … we recommend that the sidewalk paving project be selected first,” Hendrix told the council. Funding for the project depends on completion of a community salary survey of residents in the affected area. If the survey cannot be completed, or if the results disqualify the project along HUD guidelines, the focus would next be placed on a community garden followed by construction of a ramada at the Sports Complex.
The ramada construction has long been a key priority for the town, but because of funding criteria, it is not likely to be approved by HUD. Unlike other low to moderate income communities, Hendrix said Tusayan must qualify each project individually with HUD based on who will utilize the project and what its intended purpose will be. She said the town had reached out to local and national HUD representatives regarding use of funds for the ramada, but preliminary answers indicate it is not likely to be successful.
Since there is a time limit for requesting CDBG funds, Hendrix said the town has elected to approve the sidewalk paving project first and has passed a resolution committing any extra required funds for the project.
Currently, there is no sidewalk along Long Jim Loop. Council member Becky Wirth said many of the town’s employees use this stretch of road daily to get to and from work, and a sidewalk is needed to ensure their safety, as many travel after dark. Wirth also noted that paving would require permission from private landowners in some sections.
Hendrix said the project as written would only include public portions of Long Jim Loop, as CBDG funds cannot be used to benefit private landowners. Hendrix said the town shouldn’t have a problem obtaining easements for these portions.