SHERIDAN — Seven months after applying for grants from the Wyoming Community Development Authority — and three months after grant recipients were supposed to be announced — local municipalities are still waiting for answers.
“We hope every day we hear news about these things,” said Sheridan Town Administrator Stuart McRae. “The openness of not knowing when, or if, we will receive these grants has been difficult.”
The most recent communication municipalities received about the grants was a March 28 letter from Director of Housing and Neighborhood Development Tammy Krei.
“Unfortunately, at this time, we are unable to estimate timelines for the availability of program and funding allocations,” Krei wrote. “…We understand that this uncertainty can cause inconvenience to your project planning. Updates with more guidance will be provided to all applicants as soon as possible.
WCDA Deputy Executive Director Chris Volzke said the awarding of the grants was significantly delayed because it was the first time the organization had administered and distributed the Community Development Block Grants.
“Because this was the first time we did this, we wanted to look at national program goals, state goals, and activities eligible for funding under the program,” Volzke said. “We take our time to make the right decisions.”
Volzke said the organization tentatively hopes to reach a decision within the next month.
“We recognize that municipalities are sort of in limbo right now, and we need to close that feedback loop as soon as possible,” Volzke said. “We appreciate their patience.”
According to a WCDA press release, the block grant program is focused on developing mixed-use and residential neighborhoods, and all municipalities and counties in Wyoming have been encouraged to apply for $12 million in grants.
Community Development Block Grants are particularly focused on low-to-moderate income areas of the community and on degraded neighborhoods and low-income housing. They can be used for a variety of projects, including public services for the homeless, the elderly, and the disabled; housing repair and revitalization; improvements in the energy efficiency of community facilities; and public infrastructure and services.
The Town of Sheridan applied for 14 grants, requesting a total of $6.6 million. The City of Dayton applied for three grants, requesting a total of $1.35 million. The City of Ranchester requested $800,000 for two projects, while the Tongue River Valley Joint Powers Board requested $500,000 for one project.
The City of Sheridan has submitted applications for a variety of different projects, ranging from funding for the renovation of the Kendrick Park swimming pool to purchasing an ambulance.
McRae said the city has alternate funding sources in place for most projects, which would allow them to proceed whether or not the city receives the grant. The only exception to this rule is the proposed Sheridan Fire-Rescue substation at the north end of town. For this project, other grant options will need to be pursued, McRae said.
The City of Dayton has submitted three grant applications: one for the renovation of the Art Badgett Pool, one for updating city parks, and one for adding a columbarium wall for cremated remains at the cemetery. of Dayton.
Dayton City Clerk-Treasurer Hanle Visser said the projects are currently on hold until the WCDA makes a decision, although the city may choose to allocate dollars to one of the projects in the city’s budget. next exercise.
The City of Ranchester has requested funding for two projects. One would help fund design work for the Ranchester-Dayton trail system, while the other would fund the installation of a 6-inch forced sewer.
Ranchester Mayor Peter Clark said it would be “nice, but not necessary” if the city received funding for the projects.
“None of these projects are an immediate need,” Clark said. “These are things we have identified for future growth. It’s kind of like a wish list to us. It would be great if we could get the funding, but if not, we’ll just wait for the money some other way.
Clark also applied for a $500,000 grant on behalf of the Tongue River Joint Powers Board. If the board receives the grant, it will use those dollars to reimburse residents for service line connection expenses, Clark said.
“We’re just looking for any type of funding for this project,” Clark said. “We realize this might be a bit of a stretch given the purpose of the grant program. It was kind of a shot in the dark, but if you don’t ask for funding, you don’t get it.
Candidates receiving funds will have five years to spend them. Each grant requires a 5% match from the municipalities, i.e. $25,000 for $500,000 projects, $15,000 for $300,000 projects, etc.