City seeking $200,000 in emergency federal grant funding

Thursday, April 23, 2020

In the wake of the COVID-19 virus and its effects on local communities, federal grant funding is available and the City of Greencastle is on the hunt for its share.

Mayor Bill Dory told the Greencastle Redevelopment Commission Wednesday evening that he had drafted a letter to the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA), requesting $200,000 in such funding.

The mayor said the request focuses on three major areas of need:

• The purchase of additional PPE (personal protective equipment) items for Greencastle firefighters and police officers.

• The purchase of supplies and food for community food pantries.

• Funding for small business relief locally.

Mayor Dory said he is uncertain how much federal grant money is available through OCRA, which Wednesday announced its first round of recipients of more than $1.96 million to 13 rural Indiana communities.

More projects reportedly will be announced as they continue to be evaluated and reviewed by OCRA.

“We’ll see what happens,” Dory said, explaining that there has been “a lot of confusion on the program.”

For example, cities typically have to hold a public hearing before filing for such programs. In this case, OCRA officials said a public hearing will be necessary but will come prior to the receipt of funds.

Dory said he has asked for a form necessary to document the requested funds and is awaiting that from OCRA.

“It’s a learning curve for all of us,” the mayor added.

“Sounds like a moving target,” City Councilman David Murray responded.

Dory added that so far, none of the stimulus money is available for loss of revenue by municipalities, which he said is likely to show up more in 2021 and 2022 when idled residents file tax returns.

The COVID-19 Response Program was launched April 1 and, over the course of two weeks, received 108 Letters of Need, totaling an estimated $23 million in requests.

In March, Gov. Eric Holcomb issued an executive order allowing OCRA to redirect Community Development Block Grant funds to assist with COVID-19 needs, based on guidance from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Projects funded in the first round were:

• The Town of Lacrosse: Awarded $10,000 to install four Wi-Fi hotspots for residents to access the internet to complete e-Learning activities, file unemployment claims and submit job applications.

• Cass County and Logansport Memorial Hospital: Awarded $150,000 to provide COVID-19 testing to residents of Cass County.

• Tippecanoe County: Awarded $100,000 to provide a distribution service for essential supplies to families or individuals in quarantine and isolation because of positive testing for COVID-19.

• The City of Logansport: Awarded $100,000 to deliver supplies and meals to LMI residents in partnership with the United Way of Cass County.

• The City of Bargersville: Awarded $100,000 to deliver needed supplies to residents in partnership with the local Main Street organization.

• The Town of North Manchester: Awarded $250,000 to build upon an existing Revolving Loan Fund to provide grants to local businesses with employees who have low-and-moderate income households impacted by the current COVID-19 crisis.

• Noble County: Awarded $95,250 to fund a micro-grant program that will target at-risk small county businesses in partnership with the Noble County Economic Development Corporation.

• Fulton County: Awarded $250,000 to provide grants to small businesses in order to retain employees.

• The City of Delphi: Awarded $198,600 to create funds for local businesses that can be used as working capital.

• The City of Knox: Awarded $250,000 to provide working capital to local businesses for job retention.

• The Town of Hebron: Awarded $152,500 to create a fund to provide short-term working capital for small businesses in order to retain jobs.

• Pike County: Awarded $60,000 to provide $5,000 grants through the county’s economic development corporation to local businesses for working capital.

• The City of Greensburg: Awarded $250,000 to provide loans to local small business owners who are LMI or to retain LMI jobs. The funds will be processed through the local economic development revolving loan program.

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