Certification to help with grant
By Stephanie Johns
Madison received a Revitalization Area Strategy (RAS) certification for its Urban Redevelopment Area (URA) last Friday.
According to Monica Callahan, Madison planning director, URAs are designated by local communities–Madison designated its URA in May 2011. It goes from the intersection of West Washington Street and the railroad tracks clockwise to North Main Street.
“If the city were pie-shaped, it’s that quadrant of the pie-shaped city,” she said, noting that the area includes six distinct subareas: the North Second Street area, the West Washington Street gateway, the Canaan Historic Neighborhood, the Airport Industrial Area, the North Main Street gateway and the North Main Street Neighborhood.
The RAS certification means that Madison will receive an extra 20 bonus points on future Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) applications, which are considered by the state using a “multi-faceted, complex formula,” she said.
She shared that the city’s goal should be to prioritize identified Short-Term Work Program (STWP) projects that are fully within the URA.
“We need to look for projects we’ve already contemplated,” she said. “This doesn’t mean we won’t consider other projects.”
Whatever projects they end up choosing, the city will have to contribute some money of its own: Callahan explained that applicants don’t get CDBGs without putting money in the game.
“We look whenever possible to match a public dollar with outside sources so a taxpayer dollar goes further, buys more,” she said.
Callahan said that CDBGs are very competitive and that when one of them is awarded, the recipient must wait two years to reapply. Now that Madison has received its RAS certification, she said that they can apply for a CDBG every year for 3 years.
Only 5 communities were chosen to receive this certification in 2012: Cornelia, Griffin, Hall County, Madison, and Porterdale. In 2011 Colquitt, Cornelia, Greensboro, Richland, and Thomson received this certification while in 2010 Eatonton, Hitonia, and Hawkinsville received it.
The Georgia Department of Community Affairs website notes that RAS communities “showed through their applications a strong commitment to community improvement through targeting an area in need of resources.”
Printed in the October 4, 2012 edition.