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Article updated: 2/15/2013 6:18 AM

Elgin tentatively picks agencies for CDBG funds

By Elena Ferrarin

The city of Elgin has tentatively selected 11 agencies that would get this year's community development block grant funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The city received applications from 19 agencies totaling about $1.3 million. Officials expect to get about $695,000 in CDBG funds, the same amount received last year.

The city council's committee of the whole approved the tentative list Wednesday.

The agencies that made the cut are: The city's planning and neighborhood services residential rehabilitation grant program, the city's CDBG program administration, the Association for Individual Development, Great Elgin Family Care Center, The Larkin Center, My Father's Hands, PADS of Elgin, Renz Addiction Counseling Center, Senior Services Associates, Wayside Cross Ministries and Well Child Center.

CDBG grants are primarily intended to fund capital improvements, not services or operations, councilman John Steffen said. He, councilman Robert Gilliam and city staff members first reviewed the grant applications.

Grant requests from Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley and Blue Hippo Pedal Boats were deemed ineligible because they didn't meet CDBG criteria, said Sarosh Saher, Elgin senior planner.

The Visiting Nurse Association Health Care and Northern Illinois Food Bank weren't approved because both built new facilities recently. A request for parking lot rehab from The Ecker Center for Mental Health wasn't considered a high priority, Saher said.

The three remaining agencies on the list -- the Community Crisis Center, the Housing Authority of Elgin and Open Door Clinic of Greater Elgin -- ended up getting money a different way. The council voted Wednesday to disburse about $145,000 stemming from HUD projects in 2009 and 2010 that were completed under budget.

"It was extra money that had to be spent by April 15th," Steffen said, referring to the HUD deadline. "We called them and said, 'Can you guys get the contract in place?' And these were the three that could do it."

Lisa Winchel, resource development and facility coordinator for the Crisis Center, said funds will be used for new flooring in the 120-year-old building.

"We were very surprised when (the city) called," she said. "We'll do it fast, but we'll do it."

There will be a 30-day review period before a public hearing March 27, the same day the council is expected to take a final vote before submitting the plan to HUD.

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