Commission wants consolidated plan review

STEUBENVILLE – City officials still don’t know how many Community Development Block Grant dollars they can expect to receive this year, but Urban Projects Director Chris Petrossi and the Planning and Zoning Commission proceeded Monday night with a public hearing to review its five-year consolidated plan and prepared a one year action plan to submit to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“We have not yet received our 2013 CDBG funds, but we have been told to proceed with our plans based on last year’s funding. If those funds are cut, then we will have to cut our programs,” explained Petrossi.

“In order to qualify for CDBG funds, projects must benefit low- and moderate-income persons and families, eliminate slums and blight and their spread and must meet an urgent need where no other resources are available,” Petrossi told the planning commission members.

According to Petrossi, past CDBG funded projects have included rehabilitation of owner-occupied single- family dwelling units, park improvements, street resurfacing work as well as sidewalk repairs, preservation planning, demolition of dilapidated structures in residential neighborhoods and a revolving business loan program in the downtown area.

But this year, Petrossi said, “The city will seek Community Housing Improvement Program funds from the state for housing rehabilitation projects.”

“We will apply for the maximum amount of $250,000 from the state. The federal government gives funds to the states that are available to communities on a competitive basis. We will hold a final public hearing on the CHIP funding at our April 1 meeting,” Petrossi stated.

In other business Monday night, the planning commission approved TRC of Gahanna to act as the professional consultant for environmental consulting services for asbestos abatement and demolition at the former RG Steel Steubenville plant.

The city has applied for a $1 million Clean Ohio Assistance Fund Program Grant for the Strauss Industries-River Rail Development to proceed with the demolition of the site.

A public hearing on the project will be held at 2 p.m. Friday in the city council chambers.

The commission agreed to ask the city council to introduce legislation today declaring buildings at 634 Prospect Ave., 628 Rear Lincoln Ave.,, 215 N. Ninth St., 233 N. Ninth St.,226 and 228 N. Ninth St., 264 N. Ninth St., 516 Wilkins St., 539 Linden Ave., 1426 Euclid Ave., 711 Pine St., 249 N. Eighth St., and 622-624 Grandview Ave. as unsafe structures.

Petrossi said the demolition deadline is July 15 and asbestos abatements are now under way at those sites.

“McKinley and Associates of Wheeling is currently working on the plans and specifications for the park safety and lighting project. The architect is working on the design plans and bidding documents for that project,” Petrossi told the commission members.

He also updated the commission on events scheduled for Fair Housing Month in April.