Carrollton commits $200,000 towards Downtown Grant program
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By Carmen Ensinger
In an effort to gain points on their grant application, the City of Carrollton has committed a total of $200,000 of local funding to go along with the $2.1 million in funding they are applying for through the Rebuild Downtowns and Main Streets Capital Grant program.
The council held a special finance committee meeting prior to a special meeting of the entire council Thursday night, Dec. 16.
The Rebuild Downtowns and Main Streets Capital Grant program is a $50 million program through the State of Illinois. A total of 30 projects will be awarded throughout the state. Projects can range between $250,000 to $3 million. For municipalities, it is a 100 percent grant, meaning no local funding is required. However, local funding will give a municipality additional points toward scoring.
Grants will be awarded according to points scored on a variety of different items, such as how ready a municipality is to move on a project.
Members of the finance committee and Carrollton Mayor Mike Snyder discussed where the local funding would be coming from.
According to Snyder, the city will put up $100,000, $30,000 of which will come from a Build Illinois Bond Fund.
“Our engineer, Jaime Headon, told me they have already told us they will give us this $30,000,” Snyder said. “All we have to do is get the paperwork in and he said they can do that for us. This grant generated from CD Davidsmeyer’s office.”
The Build Illinois Bond Fund is a $1.5 billion grant program established in May 2020 through the Illinois Department of Transportation using proceeds from general obligation bonds authorized in the Rebuild Illinois Capital program to provide local public authorities with funds for capital projects.
Carrollton City Clerk Diane Hendricks said that since she had only been with the city six months, she called the city’s auditors to see if the city could afford any matching monies.
“According to them, I think we can come up with matching money, but I wanted to make sure because I know some if it is restricted funds,” Hendricks said. “We do have a $300,000 CD sitting in the bank which isn’t committed funds so he though we should be okay if we committed a portion of those funds to this project.”
With the $30,000 from the Build Illinois Bond Fund, Snyder suggested the city add an additional $70,000 to make a total of $100,000. Carrollton Square Initiative (CSI) have pledged an additional $100,000 to make a total of $200,000 towards the project, which is almost 10 percent of the project total.
“I think that is going to look good on our application,” Mayor Snyder said. “They are going to see our application and they are going to see that we have a plan ready and we are willing to put up funding to back that plan.”
Mayor Snyder commended the members of CSI.
“CSI has been a big part of raising some private funds to go towards this,” he said. “They are committed to this.”
Actually, the plans that are being used are partially what CSI had paid to have drawn up two years ago through the $30,500 grant they received from the USDA when the city was trying to establish the TIF district. The city and the county tweaked the plans some to incorporate a little different structure to the plan but for all intents and purposes, it is the plan that was drawn up two years ago.
Private organizations, such as CSI could apply for this grant money, but theirs is a 50/50 grant, which means they would be required to put up 50 percent of the cost of the project. By running the project through the city, and giving the city the funds, should the project get approval, the city will get 100 percent of the project funded, less the cost of the $200,000 that is being pledged, of course.
Alderman Larry Gillingham is 100 percent behind the application but said that the residents and business also need to get behind it as well.
“We need the support of people, not only in Carrollton, but in surrounding areas as well,” he said. “A lot of these improvements are going to be made on county property, which belongs to all Greene County citizens, not just the residents of Carrollton. We need letters of support for this project from as many people as we can get.”
Snyder said another thing that is going to help Carrollton score well on the application is the number of female owned businesses on or near the square.
“Jaime (Headon) said that female owned business are considered a minority business and they score higher on the application,” he said. “I never realized until I sat down and counted just how many of our businesses around the square are owned by women.”
Just to name off a few: Copper Stills and Mash, Bev’s Baskets and Bows, All Hart Chiropractic, Dairy Bar, Longnecker Optometry, Brass Door, Michele Cordes Photography and several more.
Alderman Gillingham made a motion, seconded by Alderman Gary Witt to approve a Resolution of Support and Commitment of $200,000 of local funds for the grant. The motion passed unanimously with Alderman Tim Reif not present, but sending his letter of support in his absence.
The application is due in by Jan. 10.