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Kingston hopeful on grant chance

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Council tries for grant again after being blocked from one

By Mike Gibson
newsroom@roanecounty.com
Blocked once from a block grant, Kingston officials are taking their cues from an old adage: “If at first you don’t succeed…”
Kingston Council members placed a resolution to apply for fiscal 2013 Community Development Block Grant Funds up to $500,000. There’s a public meeting scheduled for Dec. 18 in Council Chambers at the community center to discuss suitable subjects for grant funding.
The city applied for the CDBG funds in 2012, and had received them in years past. The grants are housing rehab grants, meant to target communities with particular need for such. The grants are competitive, and there are a number of factors that go into judging the need for them.
The neighborhoods in question are supposed to be low- to moderate-income; the residents are supposed to be homeowners rather than renters; and the houses in need of rehabilitation should be clustered in a relatively tight grouping.
Last year, there were issues finding a suitable candidate neighborhood. The first choice was not deemed sufficiently within the parameters of the low-moderate income criteria by representatives from East Tennessee Development District, who were assisting Kingston with their entry.
So the city had to restart their entry from scratch, this time using the Byrd’s Circle area as their target. It took some months to get feedback, but Kingston finally received word that they didn’t make the cut.
City Manager Jim Pinkerton said several factors may have been involved in missing the grant, one of which may have been not receiving enough resident response from the neighborhood.
The Byrd’s Circle area could be used again, but that’s still uncertain. “We have to start the process with an open mind,” Pinkerton said. “That’s why we’re inviting the public out. We want to pick out the area that has the best opportunity to get the grant.”
The CDBG grants are 100 percent grants—meaning that no matching funds are required—administered through the city.