The town has one month to let the state know whether it will apply for a community improvement grant for work in the Paradise area.
At its July 14 meeting, Fort Mill Town Council heard a rundown of work in preparation for a community development block grant application that could max out at $500,000.
Last year, the town received a $25,000 grant to identify needs in the Paradise neighborhood. Catawba Regional Council of Governments helped in the study, which included community input.
“The town’s opportunity has arrived,” Jason Vance, community development planner with Catawba Regional, told the council.
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Work to be done with the grant money includes the installation of two neighborhood signs, sidewalk extensions and and an upgrade to a 12-inch water line along Steele Street and a water line replacement on Joe Louis Street.
The neighborhood plan developed through the previous grant has approval from the state Department of Commerce.
The town must notify the Department of Commerce by Aug. 15 if it plans to apply for the latest grant, which requires a 10 percent match by the town. A full application would be due Sept. 15.
Vance anticipates working with the council in the coming month, with a presentation and public hearing expected at a council meeting before the Aug. 15 cut-off.
“It’s a competitive grant program,” Vance said. “The town will be competing against municipalities all across the state.”
The local match isn’t expected to be a concern. The county C-funds program already has $75,000 committed toward the project, Vance said, which can count toward the local match. That figure already exceeds 10 percent of the grant total.
In the coming week or two, Catawba Regional workers will go door-to-door through Paradise conducting income surveys.
The state program considers those surveys outdated after three years, so the update is required. A final needs assessment and ranking of town improvement priorities will be needed, too.
The grants are federal money sent through the states to improve areas of low to moderate income.
“The town is always looking at the possibility of obtaining grant money to improve our community,” said Mayor Danny Funderburk. “These grants are certainly in that neighborhood.”