Even as street and sidewalk improvements are about to get under way with Community Development Block Grants, the Logan-Union-Champaign Regional Planning Commission said townships and villages in Union County intend to apply for funds for next year's projects.

Even as street and sidewalk improvements are about to get under way with Community Development Block Grants, the Logan-Union-Champaign Regional Planning Commission said townships and villages in Union County intend to apply for funds for next year's projects.

Weston Dodds, a planner with LUC, said the first public hearing for fiscal year 2009 CDBG programs will be held at 9 a.m. Monday in the Union County commissioners' office.

During the hearing, he said, the program will be explained and information provided to interested residents.

He said pre-applications and letters were sent to all townships and villages in Union County in March to let them know about the program. He is asking that pre-applications be returned to his office by April 30.

"Basically the money you apply for this year will not become available until the following year, so you have to think ahead a little bit," Dodds said during an annual meeting with the township trustees in February.

Dodds said the regional planning commission took over the administration of the block grant funds for Union County during the 2006 program.

The regional planning group has yet to be informed by the Ohio Department of Development what Union County's block grant allocation will be for FY 2009.

"I have been in contact with our field representative at the Ohio Department of Development," Dodds said last week, "and was informed that they hoped to give us a number in early April."

The allocation for CDBG funds in Union County for FY 2008 was $83,000, he said.

Projects must meet one of the two national criteria to qualify for funding, he said.

The projects must benefit low- to moderate-income (LMI) people in concentrations of 51 percent or greater.

"These areas are determined by census," Dodds said, "and can also be determined by performing a salary survey on the area to benefit from the proposed project."

Construction projects that are 51 percent or greater LMI by census or survey may also qualify, such as roads, sidewalks or water or sewer projects.

Kyle Hanigosky, a planner with LUC, has worked with Joanna Pinkerton, a county engineer, in the Raymond and Peoria areas to try and help get them get qualified for a grant.

The second national objective is to eliminate blighted areas, which often involve Americans with Disabilities Act upgrades to public facilities such as township buildings, public areas and sidewalks.

Demolition of abandoned and deteriorated public owned buildings may also qualify for CDBG funds.

Projects that will be worked on this year for FY 2008 funds include ADA sidewalk upgrades in the New California Hills Subdivision of Jerome Township. Dodds said the sidewalks currently in place do not have ADA accessible ramps. The project, he said, will add nine ADA ramps at four intersections in phase one of the subdivision.

Street improvements to Brook-ins, Phillips, Hastings and Walnut in Richwood will also take place.

"This project includes repairs and improvements to approximately 1,375 feet of street in the village," he said.

Previous projects involved the purchase and installation of a manual transfer switch in the water treatment plant at Milford Center and demolition and removal of an abandoned school on Broadway in Taylor Township.

After the first hearing is held for the FY 2009 projects this week, Dodds said it is his hope to have a second hearing in late May or early June. The funds won't become available until January.