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Borough seeks OK for sidewalk

Hollidaysburg must gain state approval to use CARES funds

HOLLIDAYSBURG — The Hollidaysburg Borough Council will ask to use more than $16,000 in CARES Act funds for a sidewalk connecting the Hollidaysburg Area Public Library area to Legion Park.

Last Thursday, Borough Council approved allocating $16,116 of new CARES Act funds through the Community Development Block Grant to partially fund the sidewalk project.

The borough also allocated $27,310 of its regular annual CDBG funding toward the project. The borough will fund any remaining expenses.

The sidewalk would run from North Montgomery Street, along Belair Road and end at North Juniata Street.

Trina Illig, CDBG program administrator for Blair County, said any projects funded through the grant must meet requirements to “benefit low- and moderate-income people.” Illig, who administers the grant’s funds for the borough, said CDBG CARES Act funding must meet additional requirements “to prepare, respond and prevent COVID-19.”

While some municipalities decided to opt out of CARES Act funding, Illig said, “we felt we could meet that requirement.”

The borough is allocating 30 percent of each fund (CARES Act and regular annual CDBG) to the sidewalk project.

Thirty percent is the maximum amount of any CDBG fund that can be used toward “urgent need” projects, Illig said.

The borough, she said, will justify to the state Department of Community and Economic Development that the sidewalk project is of urgent need because it follows Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations that people be outside and get physical activity in order to benefit their mental and physical health.

“They want people to be outside, going on walks and we want to connect people to Legion Park to get them out,” she said. “That’s how (the borough) is presenting the project to DCED.”

Because CDBG comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the remaining 70 percent of funding must go to projects that benefit low- and moderate-income households.

One project using CDBG CARES Act funding would make $7,605 available to help people behind on rent, utilities and mortgages, Illig said.

The total allocation is $53,720 for CDBG CARES Act funding and $91,033 for regular annual CDBG funding after 18 percent is used by the county for administrative costs.

These costs include producing the projects, salaries and staying in compliance with grant requirements, Illig said.

Borough council allocated the remaining 70 percent of regular annual CDBG funding to housing rehabilitation projects, including an owner-occupied rehabilitation program.

Mirror Staff Writer Dom Cuzzolina is at 946-7428.

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