Gilbert will accept federal community development grants

By Parker Leavitt
The Republic |
federal community development grants
Downtown Gilbert

Gilbert will continue to receive and use about $800,000 a year in federal community-development grants.

The Town Council on Dec. 3 reversed previous steps toward rejecting the federal aid.

In October, it appeared the town was poised to cease participation in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program over ideological concerns with federal deficit spending.

The move would have cut Gilbert off from about $4 million in grants intended to help low- and moderate-income residents over the next five years.

Historically, Gilbert has used the federal grants to support the town’s only senior center, regional homeless shelters and an emergency home-repair program.

With affirmative nods from most council members at an Oct. 1 study session, the group had directed town officials to prepare a transition plan to pull out of the program, setting the town up to become the first community in Arizonato do so.

Parks and Recreation Director Rod Buchanan presented that transition plan this week but also included an alternative option, giving the council an opportunity to rethink its prior direction.

Buchanan outlined potential uses for the grant money, including several infrastructure upgrades in Gilbert’s aging, poorer downtown neighborhoods. Continue reading

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