NEW Bellevue City Hall SNI (copy)

Bellevue City Hall

Residents seeing various improvements to their parks, walkways and other parts of the Bellevue community likely don’t spend exorbitant amounts of time thinking about how these projects came to light.

They see the end result, but not the hours of hard work by many that leads to improvements being made. Oftentimes, these projects are completed as a result of federally funded Community Development Block Grants.

“A lot of CDBG is behind the scenes, people don’t even know that’s where that funding came from for those projects,” said Abby Highland, administrator of Bellevue’s CDBG program.

On March 10, Highland and other city officials hosted a gathering inside the Bellevue City Council chambers to present information about the CDBG program’s priorities and goals, the City of Bellevue’s CDBG funding cycle and application process, eligibility requirements, anticipated funding and the timeline for the 2020 action plan.

Highland, who has served as the program administrator since 2011, said anywhere from five to 15 applicants typically seek dollars annually. The money, specifically, is allocated by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“Seventy percent of the funds we receive have to benefit low- and moderate-income persons,” she said. “Either by household, the individual or the area; so, that’s the big part of CDBG. Eligible activities are pretty broad, and that allows the city to select projects that are addressing the needs that are specific to our community.”

Application packets are available for download at bellevue.net and are due April 27. All submissions, Highland said, will be reviewed by a CDBG committee and brought before the public at a hearing. Then, final recommendations will be made by the committee and the final allocation of money will be determined by the city council. Currently, final approval is expected to be granted during the council’s July 7 gathering.

The amount of CDBG money granted through HUD varies; however, Highland said that the city normally receives something in the mid-$300,000 range.

“It all depends on the federal budget,” she said. “This year, we saw a little bit of a decrease, we think we are going to get about $340,000 – we are waiting on the final numbers from HUD.”

Last year, she and the city worked on outlining goals and priorities for the next five years of CDBG. These guidelines are: encouraging economic development through business development and job creation; improving and expanding the availability and accessibility to public infrastructure and buildings, increasing affordable housing opportunities; increasing and expanding public service availability and continuing to maintain and administer a successful CDBG program.

The goal, she said, is normally to fund four or five projects annually. Although her work is somewhat behind the scenes, Highland said it’s nice seeing the fruits of her labor as Bellevue continues growing and changing.

“It’s so rewarding seeing what kind of impact that money can make in our community, and who it can reach,” she said. “It’s definitely a benefit we want to keep going in Bellevue.”

For more information regarding applying, application guidelines and more, those with questions are encouraged to contact Highland at abby.highland@outlook.com.

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