August 12, 2004

Memphis Receives $411,750 CDBG Grant For Housing Rehabilitation

Residents of one region in the City of Memphis were singing the song from Mr. Rogers “It’s a beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” on August 5 when the Missouri Department of Economic Development announced a $411,750 grant to help beautify the neighborhood.

In all the state of Missouri released more than $3 million in grants aimed at creating more viable neighborhoods by eliminating blight and improving housing conditions across the state.

The funding was secured through the Northeast Missouri Regional Planning Commission. David Davison was the local project coordinator.

The Neighborhood Development grants are administered through the Community Development Block Grant program. The money will fund housing rehabilitation or demolition projects in 15 Missouri communities including Memphis.

“As we look at ways to continue building upon Missouri’s recent economic momentum, we must remember change first begins at home with enhancements to the quality of life in our communities,” said Kelvin Simmons, DED director. “Good quality housing is an important factor in the economic development equation. Improving housing standards and removing blighted, unused buildings improves health and safety issues for our citizens, while clearing up and reusing existing space to secure future economic development opportunities within core areas of our communities.”

The more than $400,000 heading to Memphis will help revitalize housing units for 23 low to moderate income (LMI) households as well as demolishing one dilapidated structure. The grant application required a targeted area. In Memphis, houses eligible for the program lie within the following boundaries: Jefferson Street on the north, Sanders Street on the east, Madison Street on the south and Adams Street on the west.

The application for the grant indicated that 85 percent of the houses effected by the grant were built before 1950 with the majority being either moderately or severely deteriorated.

Overall there are 38 residences in the target area. One building is a class D site, which means it is not feasible for rehabilitation and is scheduled for demolition. Thirty-one of the homes are class C, meaning significant repairs are needed. All were built in the 1950s or earlier and the majority are single-story homes of less than 1,000 square feet, with a wood frame and minimal crawl space. Most have wood clapboard or old slate siding and have stone or concrete foundations. Lead base paint is identifiable in many of the homes and the roofs often shows signs of leaks and deterioration.

There are five class B homes in the designated target area. They were built between 1905 and 1978 and show signs of upkeep and maintenance. They will likely need a minimal amount of work to improve to the targeted class A status.

There is already one class A house in the region, The newer home will not require any improvements.

The area also is home to six mobile homes. Two were built prior to 1977 and are not being considered for grant money. Of the remaining four, two were built after 1977 and the other two have been permanently enclosed with wood beams and shingled roofs. Three of the four are considered class C, with one class B structure and will be eligible for grant money.

The grant allows for a maximum of $15,000 to be spent per house for rehabilitation with up to $6,000 more for lead abatement. The home improvements will be funded with a 92.5 percent payment with grant money. The owner will contribute the remaining 7.5 percent of the cost. Landlords will be required to contribute 25 percent on all projects.

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