City action plan unveiled

Improvements at the Aquatic Center on 15th Street top the list of projects for the City of Douglas five-year consolidated and annual action plan.

A public hearing is scheduled for 4 p.m. Wednesday, July 3 at City Hall where City of Douglas representatives will go over the five-year consolidated and annual action plan.

The consolidated and action plan is a written document describing how CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) funds will be used during the five-year entitlement cycle and each funding year thereafter.

HUD (Housing Urban Development) requires entitlement communities to use CDBG funds for specific purposes, all of which much be done in low to moderate income designated areas.

“If we should use CDBG funds in areas outside of areas of what they designate low to moderate we don’t get reimbursed,” she said. “It would then come out of our own budget.”

Douglas’ Housing Manager Xenia Gonzalez said three HUD objectives are to provide decent housing for rehabilitation centers, senior housing and ownership assistance; provide a suitable living environment which includes streets, parks, sewers and a community center, and to expand economic opportunity such as job training and child care.

The consolidated plan and annual plan process require that the city to develop objectives and priorities, hold public hearings in addition to a public review and comment section for 30-days, get approval from the Douglas City Council, and then submit to HUD for its review and approval.

Gonzalez stated CDBG Funds allocated for Fiscal Year 2019 is $173,759, $139,007 of which will go towards improvements at the Aquatic Center on 15th Street.

Plans for the second year, if approved, call for new city-wide infrastructure (sidewalks, curbing and ADA ramps); year three will be sewer improvements; year four, library expansion including ADA improvements. Community recreation improvements at the 15th Street Park will be scheduled for the fifth year, if approved.

Gonzalez said the purpose of the public hearings are to provide information and answer questions and get input from the community about local needs and priorities.

City Finance Director Luis Pedroza said a plan is currently being developed for what improvements they would like to make at the Aquatic Center.

“Those plans are still up for review however,” he said. “Our idea is to replace the dehumidifier at the Aquatic Center, replace the pump which also needs work, maybe put a roof over it which is why the pump is deteriorating because it doesn’t have a roof to protect it and to also put LED lighting on the basketball courts. … We plan on submitting this idea to HUD for review.”

Pedroza noted this plan could change depending on how much money the city gets from the CDBG grant.

“There are various levels HUD needs to go through before they will certify these projects,” he said.

Gonzalez stated a group of local residents came together and discussed just what Douglas’ priority needs were and where the money available would be needed the most.

“This is what we came up with,” she said. “The highest priority was infrastructure and public improvements, public facilities and provision of services and or needs.”

The public hearing is open to the public. Anyone wanting more information may contact Gonzalez at (520) 417-7385 or email her at xenia.gonzalez@douglasaz.gov.

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