Westfield looking for ideas to better lower income areas

WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) – The city’s Community Development and Planning Office is seeking ideas from the public on how to use grant money to continue to better the city.

Community Development will be holding two meetings to solicit thoughts from the public on Jan. 24, with one meeting at 11 a.m. and the other at 6 p.m. The meetings will be held in room 315 of City Hall, 59 Court St., Westfield. The office is planning on taking the information and thoughts provided by residents to try and find ways to spend grant money being awarded by the state to help low- to moderate-income neighborhoods and households.

“The whole program’s objective is to provide assistance to low- to moderate-income families through facilities, renovation, employment and housing rehabilitation,” Peter J. Miller, director of Community Development, said.

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Notable previous projects include the Whitney Park Playscape, which provided children with more modern and safer playground equipment, as well as the Franklin Avenue School sidewalk repair, which provided safer passageway for those who used the sidewalks. Other ideas for projects could include employment assistance, crime prevention, substance abuse assistance, child care assistance, rehabilitation projects or historic preservation.

This round of grant funding will be available for projects that will happen between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018. Applications for project proposals are due by March 10, 2017, at 4 p.m., and these applications may be created from the ideas provided later this month. In addition, Community Development will also be holding a technical assistance workshop to help craft proposals on Feb. 16, at 10 a.m., in room 315 of City Hall.

In order for a project to be eligible for the program, at least 51 percent of those affected would have to meet the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s income guidelines for the area. Below is a chart of the moderate income limit, which is 80 percent of the area’s median income per family. This is the maximum amount a family can earn to qualify.

Credit: The Westfield News
Credit: The Westfield News