Tag Archives: block grant

CDBG Spotlight: A new spring for Burnham’s Field

Once dilapidated, Burnham’s Field in Gloucester, Mass. is getting a dose of new life thanks to funding – plus the efforts of some dedicated community members.

The field had not undergone any major renovations in 30 years.

That all changed when a community group called the Friends of Burnham’s Field decided to pitch in to help revitalize the field. John McElhenny, the group’s founder, said it started three or four months ago with a modest membership of three to five people.

“Now it’s probably up to thirty or forty people who have contacted us and said, ‘I care about Burnham’s Field. I want to be involved too,’” McElhenny says. “There’s really a lot of momentum behind the Friends of Burnham’s Field.”

The community garden, which began in 2011, was one of the first steps to revitalization. McElhenny says the garden has 20 plots. Families get their own plot, where they grow vegetables and flowers. The garden has created a community of people who care about the field, and that has led to more frequent cleanups, removal of graffiti and repairs to the field’s fencing.

More improvements are set to get underway this spring with the help of more than $345,000 in funding from community development block grants, state Department of Environmental Protection funds and contributions from the Community Preservation Committee. McElhenny says the funds will go to two new playgrounds, one for toddlers, and one for older kids; improved lighting; pathways through the field; renovations to the two basketball courts; an area for kids to play in hot weather; and restroom facilities.

McElhenny says he had the support of local politicians in securing funding for the project. Stephen Winslow, senior project manager at Gloucester’s Community Development office, helped organize the grant process. State Senator Bruce Tarr and Gloucester Mayor Carolyn Kirk have also been supportive.

“Burnham’s Field sits in the heart of Downtown Gloucester and serves as a prime spot for play, basketball and pick-up soccer games by hundreds of area youth,” Winslow says. “Neighbors had sounded the alarm that old facilities, lack of lighting, trash and drug use made the field less and less desirable for families. CDBG funding proved invaluable in getting the ball rolling on planning and implementing a park rehabilitation and have resulted in over a 1 to 1 match in state and local funding. Mayor Carolyn Kirk and other local officials will all join with the community on May 3rd to finally break ground on this project that has been 5 years in development and design. ”

CDBG Spotlight: Housing Authority of Bowling Green gives one house a total makeover

 

HABG Home Makeover     HABG Home Makeover_2Photos by Joshua Lindsey/Daily News

 

While you might not see it on television, the makeover this house will get is pretty extreme.

In the hopes of giving someone a home who might not otherwise be able to afford it, the Housing Authority of Bowling Green (Ky.) has purchased a house with the help of Community Development Block Grant funds. It’s in the process of getting an extensive renovation. Volunteers helped to tear down all the drywall, carpeting and ceilings inside the house. All the fixtures, like countertops and sinks, are gone too.

The outside of the house is getting an overhaul as well. The plan is to install new vinyl, landscaping and a porch. In fact, the only parts that will not be demolished are the original foundation and frame.

The effort has also brought community members together. Employees of Independence Bank, a community-focused bank who has supported Habitat for Humanity in the past, joined Fiji, the Western Kentucky University chapter of Phi Gamma Delta, to help the housing authority tear down much of the house. In addition, Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College will pitch in to install the electrical wiring plus heating and cooling in the home.

“The bank has several skilled people,” says Abraham Williams, executive director of the Housing Authority of Bowling Green. “They will do all the painting on the inside of the house.”

They’ll continue to be a part of the project through the rebuilding and renovation process. Williams also says that the local Chick-Fil-A even offered their support, supplying the fraternity members with lunch while they worked on the house.

“It’s a real community effort,” Williams says.

This isn’t the first extreme home makeover for the Housing Authority of Bowling Green. Previously, the university was looking to expand, and had a house they were going to tear down. The housing authority got the chance to buy the house and move it for a reduced price. Williams says they were able to give the home to a woman in the Section 8 homeownership program who was blind and hard of hearing. Now she shares it with her teenage son.

The Housing Authority of Bowling Green is in the process of selecting the lucky recipient of the renovated home. It hopes to complete the project and hand over the keys in July.