SOUTH PORTLAND — The Community Development Advisory Committee has finalized its recommendations for nearly $460,000 worth of federally funded projects in low income neighborhoods.
The City Council will likely take up the committee’s recommendations at its March 16 meeting. Ultimately, the council sets funding levels for individual projects.
South Portland expects to receive more than $485,000 in Community Block Development Grant funding this year. Nearly $330,000 is recommended for public infrastructure, while more than $62,000 is recommended for public service and housing projects. Nearly $66,000 is recommended for administration of the program.
The advisory committee has recommended removing a $25,000 proposal to buy and install eight street lights on Waterman Drive, which has undergone a series of improvements over the last couple years.
Assistant City Manager and Community Development Director Erik Carson said eight street lights have already been installed and the city has not received any complaints about a lack of lighting.
“We really don’t need them,” Carson said. “If we can spend this money in a better place, given the economy, that’s what we need to do.”
The recommendation to remove the project will free up federal funds to be allocated on an as-needed basis, Carson said. Flexibility built into the current budget allowed the city to offer free carbon monoxide detectors to qualifying homeowners, following an incident that hospitalized a mother and child.
If the recommendations are approved by the council, $125,000 would be invested into the Redbank neighborhood, mostly to establish and help staff a community resource center for struggling families in need.
The recommendation would also fund Redbank beautification projects and help buy a new playscape. It would offer $15,000 towards staffing the hub, which would include social workers and, perhaps, a community policing presence.
Other funding recommendations include: $100,000 to pave Broadway from Wescott Road to Exit 3; $50,000 for sidewalks in Pleasantdale; $40,000 for a Mill Creek bus hub; $20,000 for the High-Sawyer Street Park; $10,000 for recreation scholarships; $10,000 for English language learners; $9,960 for the People’s Regional Opportunity Program’s senior companion program; $8,000 for the Center for Therapeutic Recreation; $7,200 for the Boys and Girls Club; $9,720 for crosswalk signs; $6,850 for Mill Creek park benches.
Meanwhile, Carson said the city expects to receive about $65,000 from the federal Housing and Urban Development’s HOME program, which would be used for housing rehabilitation and energy efficiency projects for qualifying homeowners.  

Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or [email protected]

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