City application seeks grant for fire station upgrade

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Consider it the Sweet 16 level of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) cycle for the City of Greencastle.

Following the adoption of Resolution 2015-16 by the Greencastle City Council last week, the city has formally submitted an application for $400,000 in CDBG funds for repairs to the fire station constructed at South Indiana and Poplar streets in 1978-79, putting it among 16 hopefuls for this year's grant funding.

At the same time, the City Council has authorized a local match commitment of $52,504 for the project. Of that total, $39,501 will come from the city's Cumulative Fire Fund, $9,503 in philanthropic capital held at the Putnam County Community Foundation and $3,500 already paid out for preliminary engineering work.

The planned work would include stabilization of exterior walls and windows (which will also help energy efficiency) and some modifications to the second-floor living quarters that were cut back during construction of the 1978 project.

"With this, we hope our firefighters can actually stand up when they take showers," Mayor Sue Murray said,

noting that the planned work is designed to help the building "withstand many, many more years of use."

The fire station structure is currently at 36 years and counting, spanning the administrations of seven city mayor (including three serving multiple terms) without major repairs or restoration to this point.

"Is it in danger of falling down now? No," Mayor Murray said. "But we don't know where we would find that $400,000 (to do the work) otherwise."

Councilman Tyler Wade asked what the city would do if it did not receive the requested grant.

The plan would be to reapply next year, the mayor responded. The CDBG grants are presented on an annual cycle, administered by the state through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Grant administrator Kristy Jerrell has told city officials it appears to be "a pretty competitive grant cycle."

Recently an income survey randomly mailed out to residents of Greencastle and Greencastle Township in regard to the $400,000 grant request qualified the fire service area for the grant. All qualifying projects must benefit at least 51 percent low- to moderate-income individuals and the income surveyed produced a local low- to moderate-income rate of 57 percent over the fire protection area, Mayor Murray told the City Council at its special meeting.

Council President Adam Cohen made the motion to adopt the resolution, which was passed unanimously by Council members Wade, Mark Hammer and Jinsie Bingham. Council member Phyllis Rokicki was absent.

The City Council will next meet in regular session at 7 pm. Tuesday, July 14 at City Hall.

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