Greenville spotlighted in national guidebook

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Greenville has been spotlighted in a national guidebook released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, recognizing the city's use of CDBG funds to rehabilitate 19 homes in the Methodist Hill neighborhood.

2006 marked the 25th anniversary of the State Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.

The landmark program was signed into law by President Gerald Ford in 1974 and allows state and local governments to use the block grant to fund a broad range of eligible activities, from city infrastructure problems to housing issues.

The guidebook includes a before and after photo of one of the refurbished homes and states: &#8220The activities demonstrated to residents of the Methodist Hill neighborhood that the City of Greenville, the State of Alabama and HUD's CDBG Program believed in them and were willing to invest in their future.”

The project was submitted for inclusion in the guidebook by Kathy McHugh, grant administrator for Roth, McHugh and Associates.

Mayor Dexter McLendon said it is good to see Greenville getting this type of positive publicity.

&#8220It's real exciting to see something like this - especially in a national magazine,” he said.

Another of McHugh's CDBG projects - this one in the town of Brantley - was also included in the guidebook. CDBG funds allowed Brantley officials to construct a new 400,000-gallon water tank. The previous one had been ravaged by time and maintenance workers regularly discovered dead bats inside the tank.

In fiscal year 2000, Greenville applied for and received CDBG funds to address serious drainage deficiencies that were causing a hardship to property owners in the project area. The drainage aspect of this project addressed the major problems of ditch safety and inadequate storm water drainage in the Methodist Hill area. As a result of this effort, the city successfully completed drainage improvements, which were originally initiated in 1987.

A total of 54 low to moderate-income persons directly benefited from the housing phase of this project and 38 persons from the drainage portion of the project.

In fiscal year 2002, the city applied for and received CDBG funds to finance a housing rehabilitation and sewer project in the northern and western portions of the Methodist Hill neighborhood. This project provided funding for rehabilitation of 19 neighborhood homes and addressed serious sewer line and sewer lateral deficiencies that were causing inflow/infiltration and ex-filtration of wastewater in the project area.

Along with the refurbished housing, residents in the Methodist Hill neighborhood, 94 percent of which have low or moderate incomes, received improved sewer service.

The city provided matching funds for both projects, including $50,000 for a $500,000 CDBG grant in 2004.