JAMESTOWN – Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning, NY 23) took time out during his weekly conference call on Tuesday to highlight his effort education federal officials about how a pool of federal funding aimed at community redevelopment has helped Jamestown and Dunkirk – along with other communities in the 23rd congressional district.
Last Friday Reed toured some of the projects that have benefited from the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program with Housing and Urban Development Region II Administrator, Lynne Patton.
CDBG provides flexible funding opportunities to help local businesses and homeowners in targeted communities. Reed said he wanted Patton to see firsthand how the program has benefited communities and business owners, while also offering ideas on how to improve the program and increase funding.
“Being able to showcase Jamestown and Dunkirk as entitlement communities under the Community Development Block Grand program was very significant,” Reed said. “We will await those funding level announcements, but I think Jamestown and Dunkirk as a result, in part, of this visit will fair very well under the budget allocation that’s coming down through the pipeline.”
Reed also said that in addition to funding levels, he hopes the recent tour will also lead to HUD addressing when the funding is actually released to the communities. He said that because communities in the district have a tight contract schedule due to the winter months, the release of the funding doesn’t always align with the construction season, leading to a longer wait-time before the funds can be put to use.
“I want to thank Congressman Reed for the invitation to tour his district, as well as the HUD grantees and stakeholders who work tirelessly to serve the residents of Chautauqua County,” Patton said via a media release from Reed’s office. “I am committed to advocating for necessary federal funding and look forward to continuing to work together to serve the Southern Tier and Western New York.”
In 2017 the city of Jamestown received $1,056,212 in CDBG funding, while Dunkirk received $448,161. In addition, New York State received $45.6 million in CDBG funding, which allows the state to award grants to communities that are not receiving the money directly.
“HUD’s CDBG program has been a critical tool in addressing neighborhood housing issues in the City of Jamestown,” said Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi via a media release. “The city helps guide rehabilitation projects for both owner-occupied homes and rental properties to address code and safety issues. It’s allowed us to help seniors stay in their homes. We’ve also used HUD funding to address aging infrastructure such as sidewalks, curbs, and the streets in our neighborhoods and downtown to improve accessibility for people with physical handicaps.
“CDBG funds have been extremely helpful in renovating commercial buildings throughout the city, but, in particular, they have aided the aggressive approach we have taken through our downtown revitalization efforts,’ Teresi continued. “The public funds have helped us leverage a multi-factorial level of private investment. CDBG funds have also allowed the city to hire a code enforcement officer dedicated to targeting areas of city neighborhoods that have been in decline due to a transition from owner occupied homes to rental properties owned by investors not residing in the city or even the region.”,”