The first $400,000 of the $780,000 needed to finance the proposed senior center comes from a Community Development Block Grant received, if memory serves, in 2010. Whenever it was received, it must be used, according to the terms of the grant, before the end of August 2012. Because the original grant application neglected to mention that the proposed senior center would be built in a National Register-listed historic district, the project has experienced significant delays, and, as a consequence, it was little chance of being completed by the deadline, so the City must request an extension.
At the informal meeting of the Common Council on April 9, Council President Don Moore asked John Duchessi of The Grant Writers, who has been retained by the City to work with HDC & HCDPA, about the extension and seemed genuinely surprised to learn that the first draft of a letter requesting the extension was just then being worked on. Last Thursday, April 26, Duchessi reported to the board of HCDPA that the request letter was now in its third draft, explaining that they wanted to get it right in order to ensure that it would be successful.
Meanwhile, the City is gearing up to apply for another Community Development Block Grant for a purpose so far unknown. Duchessi told the HCDPA board on Thursday that it was time to set the dates for two public hearings: the first to hear ideas from the community; the second to present the chosen project to the community. Last year, the project was a handicapped ramp at Promenade Hall, which seems not to have been successful in securing funding.