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Sunday, October 02, 2005

Bedford to weigh grant priorities

by Emily Canning-Dean

Bedford Times-Register Reporter

Bedford and Bedford Heights residents who have ideas about how to improve their communities will have opportunities to be heard next month.

Both cities are hosting public meetings where residents and officials can discuss which projects the communities should present to Cuyahoga County when applying for thousands of dollars in Community Development Block Grants. There will be a public meeting Oct. 4 at noon at the Jimmy Dimora Community Center, 5615 Perkins Ave., for Bedford Heights residents. Dates and times for Bedford meetings have not been scheduled yet. The deadline for the grant applications is Nov. 18 at noon.

According to Michelle Oakar, public information officer for the county department of development, the county receives federal funding each year that is to be distributed to communities for improvement projects.

Oakar said communities with “target improvement areas” or areas with residents at low to moderate income levels can apply for the grant, and each community can receive up to $150,000.

Oakar said eligible improvement projects must “serve low to moderate income people,” “prevent or eliminate slum and blight” or “meet other urgent community needs.” She said typical eligible projects include streetscape improvements, street or sidewalk improvements and American Disability Association improvements to public sites.

Bedford Director of Economic Development Rebecca Corrigan said her city will host several meetings throughout October where they will take ideas from residents.

“Right now we are thinking about streetscape improvements on Northfield Road between Union Street and Forbes Road,” she said.

Corrigan said the project would include street benches, landscaping and sidewalk improvements with an estimated cost of $200,000. She said making this business district on Northfield more aesthetically pleasing would be beneficial because a lot of motorists travel through the area.

Corrigan said applicants whose projects include streetscape improvements are often successful in obtaining CDBG funding. She said both phases of the Broadway Avenue Streetscape were partially funded by CDBG money.

But Corrigan said she still wants feedback from residents.

“Maybe residents will have an idea that we like better than the Northfield Road project,” she said.

Bedford Heights Director of Economic Development Marty Divito said the city has already gotten some ideas.

“We’ve already had one suggestion for an elevator in City Hall and another for power doors at the community center,” she said, adding that both of these projects would make each building more ADA compatible.


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