Columbia Neighborhood Association Seeks Project Ideas

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COLUMBIA - The city's Neighborhood Association will hold Neighborhood Congress Thursday to identify potential development projects for the next five years. The event begins at 5 p.m. at city hall, then from 6 to 8 p.m. at the ARC.

The Neighborhood Congress is part of the Community Development Commission's plan to receive federal grant money for the projects identified in the meeting. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provides money to cities for projects benefiting low and moderate income areas of town, called the Community Development Block Grant Program.

The city lends that money to developers interested in performing those projects, then collects money through loan repayments to reuse on more projects. Last year, the city collected $140,000 in repayments, and used some of it on sidewalk construction such as repairs at the corner of Seventh Street and Broadway.

The commission will host six more public information sessions throughout 2014, and will submit a final plan to the city council in October. It wants to identify projects specifically concerning affordable and community housing, improvements to community buildings and individual neighborhood needs.