Grant money makes difference in community; helps low-to-moderate-income residents
PRESCOTT – The Aubrey Street building that houses Prescott’s Boys and Girls Club of Central Arizona was constructed decades ago to serve senior citizens – not young people.
But for much of the past decade, the Boys and Girls Club has used the building, which the Adult Center of Prescott vacated when it moved into a new building on Rosser Street in 2007.
Over the years, that sometimes meant making do with what was on hand. “Kids were playing basketball in the parking lot,” Joe Baynes, the chairman of the Boys and Girls Club board, said of the outdoor activities at the Aubrey Street site.
That all changed earlier this past fall with the completion of a new outdoor basketball court – a project that was paid for through a $44,632 federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).
“It was a good project,” said Baynes, who also serves as the City of Prescott Recreation Services Director but volunteers with the Boys and Girls Club. “The Boys and Girls Club building really wasn’t built for kids. And an outside play area was really crucial.”
The new basketball court gets the children closer to the building, Baynes said. The space also will be used for floor hockey, pickleball, and dodgeball, he added.
The Boys and Girls Club was just one of a number of organizations and efforts to receive CDBG money in 2016 through the City of Prescott’s share of grant money allotted through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Prescott Planning Manager George Worley explained that the city annually receives a share of the grant money to allocate to local causes that help low-to-moderate-income residents.
Worley said the city’s CDBG money totaled $233,000 for 2016. The amount fluctuates slightly each year, he said, noting that the total was close to $250,000 five years ago.
Also getting CDBG money in 2016 was Prescott Meals on Wheels – an organization that has received the grants consistently through the years. Meals on Wheels’ total was $12,000, and the organization received $11,000 in 2015, and $23,000 in 2014, said Bert Ijams, executive director.
She pointed out that the grant money goes largely to help clients who are referred through the Area Agency on Aging.
“We never put anyone on a waiting list,” Ijams said. She explained that Meals on Wheels provides home delivery to home-bound seniors who are unable to access meals by other means.
The CDBG grants and the City of Prescott have been “remarkably helpful” to the organization’s goals, Ijams said.
The Boys and Girls Club and Meals and Wheels were two of about 20 organizations that applied for money in 2016.
Each year, the city seeks applications from eligible nonprofit organizations, and ultimately decides which projects will receive the money. A CDBG Citizens Advisory Committee advises the Prescott City Council on which organizations should receive grants, and the City Council makes the final decision.
Darla Eastman, CDBG grant administrator for the city, said the committee members conduct multiple meetings throughout the process before reaching their recommendations. For 2016, she said, the money was split between seven or eight projects.
Worley said the committee takes a number of factors into consideration, including whether the applications are complete, and whether the organizations will be able to carry out their goals. “We need a stable organization to be an applicant,” he said.
The next round of review for CDGB money is set to get started in early 2017. An application workshop is set for Jan. 11, while the grant applications are due to the city by Feb. 26. A public hearing will take place on March 14, and the Citizen Advisory Committee will rank the projects by March 22. A second public hearing will take place on April 25, with a third planned for May 9, after which the City Council is scheduled to approve the 2017 plan. The funding year begins on May 11.
More information on the 2017 application process is available on the city’s website at: http://www.prescott-az.gov/leadership/grants.php.
Follow Cindy Barks on Twitter @Cindy_Barks. Reach her at 928-445-3333, ext. 2034, or 928-642-0951.