The City of Middletown and the Citizens' Advisory Committee are looking for public input on how well it spent $450,000 in federal funding to improve the lives of low- and moderate-income residents over the last year.
The groups have created an eight-question survey to help them evaluate the results of the 2012-2013 Community Development Block Grant Program given by the department of Housing and Urban Development. The results will help the city determine how the program is operating and what changes may need to be made.
CDBG is a federal program that provides about $400,000 in entitlement funding to the city each year to help improve the lives of low and moderate income residents through public service programs, improvements to public facilities, improvements to housing and assistance for economic development efforts.
During the 2012-2013 grant year, the city spent $447,230 to address three priorities outlined in Middletown's five-year plan for CDBG funding — jobs, livable neighborhoods, and creating access to services and programs for all.
The program began at the federal level in 1974 and each year, those interested in receiving funds can apply near the beginning of each calendar year.
In 2012, the city installed BigBelly Solar Trash and Recycling Compaction Systems along Main Street with CDBG funds and offered small business creation and expansion awards and business mentoring for those unemployed individuals who started their own business.
Projects that received funding over the last year ran the gamut from loans and grants to senior citizens who began their own business to bike racks in the North End and a pool lift for disabled members of the Northern Middlesex YMCA to use the pool.
- North End Action Team North End Kids Market, $5,000
- Russell Library Job and Career Services, $15,000
- St. Vincent DePaul Amazing Grace Food Pantry, $5,000
- Middlesex Business & Industry Foundation Worker Preparation Program, $9,000
- Oddfellows Playhouse Main Street Theater Acquisition, $200,000
- Northern Middlesex YMCA ADA Pool Lifts, $6,000
- Gilead Community Services Improvements to Affordable Housing, $38,130
- City of Middletown North End Bike Racks Entitlement, $4,000
- City of Middletown Remington Rand Entitlement, $100,000
- City of Middletown After-School Scholarship Program, $25,000
- City of Middletown Micro-grant/loan program for Seniors, $14,781.39
- City of Middletown Small Business Creation/Expansion, $25,000
The city's planning department has information on CDBG grant projects from 2001 through 2013.
Residents are invited to complete the survey through the end of December. For information, contact Michiel Wackers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do you think of how the money was spent on these projects? In what areas would you like more or less federal dollars spent in Middletown? Tell us in the comments section below.