AFTER ADMINISTRATION PROPOSES CUT TO ONE OF JAMESTOWN’S MOST IMPORTANT FED PROGRAMS, SCHUMER VOWS TO FIGHT FOR FULL FUNDING IN CONGRESS TO PRESERVE IT – FED COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT PROGRAM HAS BEEN CRITICAL TO DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT, REVIVAL; CUTS COULD SLOW PROGRESS
Administration Proposed Cutting $200 Million from HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program In Upcoming Fiscal Year – Jamestown Receives Approximately $1.2 Million in Funding Each Year & It Is A Major Driver In Downtown Development
CDBG Has Helped Jamestown Fund Transformational Development Plans Like Main Street Revitalization & Gateway Train Station, Make Buildings Like Prendergast Library Handicap Accessible, And Invested in Neighborhood Housing Initiatives Through Revitalization Projects Like Wellman Building
Schumer: Protecting CDBG Funding Is Critical to Jamestown
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer launched his push to preserve federal funding for one of Jamestown’s most important federal programs that the administration proposed cutting in its Fiscal Year 2016 budget. Schumer said the proposed $200 million cut to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program would be damaging to Jamestown, and Schumer said he will make preserving funding for the CDBG program a priority in this congress. The CDBG program provides the City of Jamestown and other municipalities like it around New York and the nation with critical funding for transformative and unique development projects. Schumer said that Jamestown typically receives $1.2 million in CDBG funding each year, and cuts to the program could hinder many of the projects underway as well as ones it hopes to launch over the next few months and years. Schumer cited development projects like Jamestown’s Main Street downtown revitalization, the Prendergast Library’s handicap accessible upgrades, and the Wellman Building housing initiatives as prime examples of how this funding has been used in the past and can continue to be used. Schumer said any cut in the national funding level would likely lower the dollar amount Jamestown receives, and that is unacceptable when the funding is doing so much good.
“Funding from the Community Development Block Grant program has helped transform Jamestown over the past 25 years; without this federal funding, many local development projects might not be here today. Jamestown—as well as many smaller cities across New York State and the country—relies on these funds for a wide range of housing initiatives and downtown revitalization projects that continue to be a boon for the local economy. That is why we must make sure the CDBG program is fully funded,” said Schumer. “A $200 million cut nationwide could have a real impact on projects underway or yet to begin in Jamestown. This program is too important to let funding levels slip, and I will be leading the charge in Congress to preserve the funding level so cities like Jamestown that rely on it can continue to benefit from it.”
“Without CDBG funds, we would not see developments such as the Wellman building, which has been transformed from a vacant building into affordable housing for Jamestown families,” said Mayor Sam Teresi. “These funds are helping us to revitalize our city, and a cut now would be devastating. Senator Schumer has been a tireless advocate on behalf of the citizens of Jamestown, NY, and we appreciate that he is now fighting these cuts in Congress.”
According to HUD, the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program provides communities with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs. The CDBG program funds affordable housing projects, provides services to the most vulnerable in our communities, and creates jobs through the expansion and retention of businesses. The CDBG program provides annual grants on a formula basis to 1,209 general units of local government and States. Schumer said these grants are critical for the City of Jamestown as well as many other small cities like it across the state and country because they are capable of funding the kinds of business development, housing, and revitalization projects that have the potential to be a boon to the local and regional economies.
CDBG is facing a $200M cut in FY2016, and Schumer said this cut could threaten major development programs in small cities like Jamestown and others across New York State. Jamestown receives approximately $1.2 million in CDBG funding annually, and this program has helped fund many of the development projects downtown and across the city. Over the past 25 years, many of the City of Jamestown’s major improvement projects were recipients of CDBG funds.
In particular, Schumer said the CDBG program has helped fund Jamestown’s ongoing Main Street downtown revitalization project, which has brought new business activity to the downtown area by increasing streetscape initiatives and making façade improvements. Another transformational project, Schumer cited, was the $12 million federal investment in the new Gateway Train Station. In 2011, the multi-modal transportation center received critical Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funding, which was secured by Schumer, as well as the CDBG funding to make façade improvements and install handicap restrooms. The City has also taken advantage of CDBG funds to improve handicap accessibility in town buildings, particularly the Prendergast Library, which now features handicap doors and restrooms. Before this project began, the ladies restroom was located on the second floor, making it inaccessible and out of compliance with ADA standards. According to the Mayor's office, the Prendergast Library project would not have moved forward without CDBG funding. Finally, Schumer cited the Wellman Building as a major business development initiative that received CDBG funding to revitalize Jamestown. In 2013, the formerly vacant 8-floor building received a $12 million federal investment in order to build 44 apartments for Jamestown families, as well as commercial space, in the downtown area. The CDBG program was a critical source of funding and helped with façade and handicap accessibility among other initiatives.
Schumer said this kind of business and neighborhood development could be significantly hindered if funding for the CDBG program is slashed. While Congress typically requests a higher CDBG funding amount than the Administration, Schumer said the program has still been cut a total of $78 million since FY2013, and the trend toward cutting the program each year could put crucial development projects at risk. As a result, Schumer announced he will be pushing back against these proposed cuts and has vowed to fight to protect federal programming that is critical to Jamestown, such as CDBG funds.
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