City Council approves sending housing grant application

AJ Fournier, Contributing Writer

 

The Charleston City Council approved sending an application for a Community Development Block Grant to rehabilitate houses on Tuesday.

The grant will help lower-income families with house repairs such as replacing roofs, updating electrical systems and plumbing. No money would be spent out of pocket by homeowners.

City planner Steve Pamperin said the grant is $450,000, and the city will fund up to $45,000 worth of repairs per home.

If the grant gets approved it will also improve the housing stock, Pamperin said. Qualifications to receive the grant for household repairs depend primarily on the person’s income. But after income is considered, other qualifications to get some of the grant money are the age and disabilities of the homeowner.

Community planner Kevin McReynolds said they are hoping to hear back on if the application will be approved by January. If it gets approved, the grant will go through the state but be funded by the federal government. The state will set up some rules, McReynolds said.

“The neighborhood is bordered on the west by East St., on the east by Illinois 30 or Fifth St., on the north by Walnut Ave. and on the south by the bike trail,” McReynolds said.

If the grant gets approved, work would start on the houses next fall. The grants are given in two-year cycles, so the city would have two years to finish the work on the house, Pamperin said.

The renewal for the agreement on alcoholic liquor enforcement with the Illinois Department of Revenue, a pilot program that started last year, was approved for renewal.

Mayor Brandon Combs said last year, the department came to Charleston and trained the Charleston police officers to perform the liquor inspections of different businesses. This was because the state cut down on employees’ hours, as they did not have enough money, Combs said.

“We know the facilities, we can come in there and do the inspections ourselves, and last year it was very successful,” Combs said.

He said it also benefits the police department because they get money out of it.

“If it works good in our town, they are going to go to other cities and have those cities do the same,” Combs said.

The council also approved closing various streets for the Charleston Challenge 40-Mile Relay foot race, which will be held on Nov. 5. The streets being closed temporarily are Reynolds Dr. and McComb St.

 

AJ Fournier can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]