City Council approves CDBG transfer

Money will cover funds for Hamilton Park renovations

City Council on Monday allocated $35,000 in Community Development Block Grant money to cover a shortfall in the Central Blair Recreation and Park Commission’s funding for improvements at Hamilton Park.

The money will make up the difference between the original estimate for the Phase 2 improvements and the $104,000 low bid received recently from Ventura Construction Services, according to city officials.

The city had previously allocated $70,000 in CDBG money for the Phase 2 improvements.

The $35,000 in CDBG money had originally been allocated for the city’s bike patrol program.

It was available to cover the Phase 2 shortfall because the city is now funding the bike patrol program and a code officer that it used to fund through CDBG with general fund money.

It shifted those programs away from CDBG because federal rules limited the use of CDBG money for them only when the bike patrol and code officers were working in low- to moderate-income areas.

More often than not, they were working outside those areas, forcing the city to compensate them through the general fund anyway.

The change has eliminated the bureaucratic hassle of tracking where the officers operate, making administration of the programs easier and creating a sense of flexibility that was previously absent, according to officials.

The Phase 2 work at Hamilton Park, which is on the 300 block of East Cherry Avenue, comprises installation of outfield fencing, creation of a walking trail connection between an existing trail and new pickleball courts, regrading of the outfield, drainage work and signs explaining the rules of pickleball, according to CBRC Executive Director Mike Hofer — consulted by phone at the meeting.

The prior Phase 1 work comprised replacement of two derelict tennis courts with four pickleball courts, installation of a pyramid-shaped net climber, reskinning of the baseball infield and creation of the walking path.

Work sessions

Although the Phase 2 approval was the only item on the agenda of the work session meeting, council discussed future work sessions, resolving — as they’d done before — to make them a forum for discussion of larger ideas.

Council members ought to submit suitable topics ahead of time, so members can be prepared, said Councilman Bruce Kelley.

Maybe council can even schedule joint work sessions with the Logan Township supervisors and the Blair County commissioners, Councilman Dave Butterbaugh said, “to foster intergovernmental cooperation.”

Kelley and Councilman Erik Cagle endorsed that idea.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.