Belpre starts clearing way to get CHIP funds

BELPRE – City council on Monday passed the first reading of a resolution to allow the Washington/Morgan Community Action to help the city participate in the Community Housing Improvement Project (CHIP) program.

Dawn Rauch, assistant planning director with Washington/Morgan Community Action, told council about the plans for the city’s houses if the state awards up to $400,000 in grant funds to the city.

“The CHIP funds provide for housing rehab and home repair services,” she said.

For Belpre, Community Action is requesting private owner rehab, which will bring an entire house up to residential standards and will spend up to $30,000 per home. Rauch said there are plans for as many as seven of these units in the city with three of them in the area of Rockland and Mary streets where the Safe Routes to Schools sidewalk program will be happening.

Another area for funds to go is the home repair program where one thing will be fixed to keep the homeowner in the house. Funds would be available for 12 in the city, Rauch said.

“This grant is very, very competitive,” she said. “Every community in the state is going after these funds to preserve homes for future generations.”

Council will consider the second reading of the legislation on March 11, with the public hearing on the CHIP program at 7:25 p.m. before the March 25 meeting.

The applications need to be turned in to the state in early April.

“The last time the city was funded through this program was in 2009-2011,” Rauch said.

If the city is awarded the funds, an application informational event will be at the city building.

In other business:

* Council passed the third and final reading of the resolution to extend the city’s contract with the O’Neill Center for the management of the Belpre Senior Center.

The new contract includes having the money from renting the facility for parties and groups go to the city and not the O’Neill Center. The fee paid to the O’Neill Center for its management was increased by $2,550 for a total of $43,350.

Mayor Mike Lorentz has praised the work of the O’Neill Center with the city’s facility, as the number of programs has increased as well as participation. The number of people using the facility has increased to more than 1,000 people a month.