The grants fund local community development activities such as affordable housing, anti-poverty programs and infrastructure development. CDBG grants are different from grants that are made for specific purposes because they are subject to less federal oversight and may be used at the discretion of local governments.
“Kingston is going to apply for up to $750,000 for water system improvements especially in neighborhoods where the water system impacts low income residents,” said Valerie Gilreath, grant writing director for Bartow County. “Since the last time i was here, I have surveyed residents on School, Cemetery and Railroad Streets and Massengail Road. After talking to them about the issues they are facing and talking to Mr. Sweitzer, we determined that of the seven potential areas we considered, we needed to focus on Massengail Road, Bradley Trail and Wilkey Street and the stretch of Hwy 293 running from the city limit to Massengail Road. That’s approximately 40-50 residences in the Massengail Road area and another 10 along Hwy 293 that falls within the limits of the $750,000 CDBG budget. The deadline to apply is April 3 and the results are usually announced in September or October. From that time, you have two years to begin the work.”
The areas covered by the CDBG grants could be deleted from the USDA loan, saving even more money.
Trent Lard, an engineer with Sweitzer Engineering, told the council that they would need to authorize Mayor Chuck Wise to sign a right-of-way map, a USDA requirement, that identifies the places where easements are needed.
“Valerie will need direction from you to go ahead and prepare the application,” said City Attorney Brandon Bowen. “If you have any questions about these grants, now would be the time to ask her.”
Councilmember Payton Silvers made a motion to authorize Wise to sign the right-of-way map.
Julian Powell, an Atlanta urban designer, retained by Kingston resident, Charlie Veccio, reported to the council about a visit from consultants with the state tourism board.
“A team of specialists came last week to tour the city — the station master’s house, the old cemetery, the Women’s History Museum — and provide suggestions about the best ways to get tourists to come,” Powell said. “They will return in about six weeks to make a presentation to the mayor and council.Powell said the group was very impressed and excited about the possibilities of showcasing historic Kingston, however their enthusiasm was dampened when they learned of the town’s nearly nonexistent sewers.
“That can really kill the momentum,” Powell said.
He urged the council to consider alternatives such as a commercial grade septic tank as a short-term fix, allowing the town to attract business and tourism much sooner.
The Kingston City Council will meet on Monday, April 3, at 6 p.m. for a work session followed by a regular meeting.