City contributes $39K for home rehab grant application


HUNTINGBURG — Huntingburg will include $39,000 as a contribution to its application for a state grant to help fund repairs to homes.

Huntingburg Common Council members agreed to the contribution at its Tuesday evening meeting. The city’s contribution will come from funding left over from a 1995 state housing program the city was in and from the city’s rainy day fund.

The contribution helps the city earn more points on its application for a $350,000 grant from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority’s Owner-Occupied Rehabilitation Program.

If Huntingburg’s application is approved, the program will give homeowners financial assistance to make needed repairs to their homes. The Southern Indiana Development Commission will be the administrator of the program.

The city’s contribution will go directly to making repairs to homes; it will not be used for administrative costs, Mayor Denny Spinner said.

“We should go all in,” Councilman Steve McPherron said. “Should we get this, those (contributing) funds are going to directly benefit the citizens of the city. If we don’t get it, the money is not going to be spent.”

Councilman Jeff Bounds agreed. “If property values improve, that will have a ripple effect to that neighborhood,” he said. “So this will benefit the direct recipients and the neighborhood.”

The city is applying for the maximum grant amount, $350,000, which would cover about 14 houses, depending on the amount of repairs needed to each home.

As of now, there are 20 applications for the program. Applications are still being accepted and will be on standby, in case there is money left for more repairs, Spinner said. Those wanting to apply can contact Jenny Dearwester at the Southern Indiana Development Commission, 812-295-3707.

The maximum amount that can be spent on a home is $25,000, though Dearwester has said previously that the average spent is $18,000 and $23,000.

Repairs that qualify are those that are done for health and safety reasons, such as electrical, roofing, siding and heating/ventilation/air conditioning work; outdoor ramps and accessible bathrooms have also been installed through the program.

The application to the Indiana Housing and Development Authority is due by Monday, Dec. 17. The authority will announce the awards in March.

The council also:

• Was reminded that on Friday, the 14th Street stop signs will be removed from the intersection of 14th and Chestnut, to allow traffic on 14th to drive through the intersection and onto Progress Parkway without stopping. The stop signs on Chestnut Street will remain, so traffic on that street will stop at the intersection. That is a change from the past, when Chestnut used to not have stop signs. City officials are asking drivers to be mindfully aware of the change.

• Heard an update on the ongoing study being done concerning the city’s stormwater system. Eric Parsley of Commonwealth Engineers said that 70 people attended a public meeting in September and left 43 comments about problem areas in the city. Many of those were either on the north or the south side of the city, Parsley noted, though some were identified in the center of Huntingburg. Commonwealth received about 10 emails from people after the meeting, citing problem spots. All of those are being compiled and put on a map to show the city’s problem areas, Parsley said. Commonwealth has also calculated the average amount of impervious area of a residential property to be 3,100 square feet. Impervious areas are areas covered by impenetrable materials like concrete, brick and stone. That calculation will be used in the future to calculate the proposed amount of contribution residential and nonresidential properties should contribute to a stormwater utility, if the city decides to create such a utility. The study on the problem areas and recommendations for addressing them will be done by the end of January, Parsley said.

• Decided to hold its last meeting of the year at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 26, at City Hall, 508 E. Fourth St.

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