The city of Nicholasville has been awarded a $740,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) related to a scattered-site housing project, Mayor Russ Meyer announced during Monday’s city-commission meeting.
In a scattered-site project, it would be possible for the city to upgrade many houses in different areas of the city, so long as the homeowners meet eligibility requirements.
The city requested the grant money in September. With the approval, it now has slightly more than $1 million for the scattered-site project.
Last September, Kriss Lowry with Kriss Lowry & Associates said the city would contribute $323,000 to the project from the program income account.
Lowry later explained that through an earlier transaction, the city sold some property to the Jessamine County Health Department and those funds could only be used on CDBG projects.
“The city has that money in an account from property sales from a prior CDBG housing project — that was the Walnut Street project (in 2003), where we had some excess land there that was sold to the health department for their expansion,” she said. “Those funds, since they came from a CDBG housing project, they have to be used for a CDBG housing project, so they’ve been in an account accumulating interest for a number of years.”
Nicholasville city clerk Roberta Warren said in September that 17 residents applied for the grant.
The city completed a similar project on Walnut Street in 2003 and looked at doing another project in 2007 along Stratton Avenue.
But there are key differences between what was done on Walnut Street and what was proposed on Stratton Avenue. The scattered-site program is voluntary, while the Stratton, because it was an urban renewal plan, was mandatory.
In 2003, the residents on Walnut Street were on board with the project, while the residents who lived or owned property on Stratton Avenue in 2007 balked at the project.
Another key requirement that is different from the past projects is the scattered-site project is only offered to owners who occupy the house.
Other eligibility requirements include:
• Structures must be single-family homes and zoned for residential use.
• Applicants must own and live in the home for six months prior to submitting a preliminary application.
• The house must be located inside the city of Nicholasville, and applicants must be U.S. citizens.
• All property taxes and city utility bills must be paid in full before receiving assistance.
• Applicants are not eligible if they have received CDBG or home funds to rehabilitate their homes in the last 20 years.
• Mobile homes are not eligible unless they have the same owner as the lot.
• Homes must need a minimum of $25,000 in repairs.
Lowry said the houses would meet the current building code and would be universally designed so they would be assessable and they would be Energy Star-rated homes.
The payment of the project comes in the form of a forgivable deferred loan, Lowry said.
“They’re given the money in the form of a loan,” she said in June. “There aren’t any payments on it; it’s a five-year forgivable loan. As long as they stay in the house for five years following the project, they don’t have to pay back anything.”
Lowry added that if the homeowner moved before the five years was up, they would have to pay back 80 percent of the funds used to assist them.