By Carol McCracken
Portland is about to become a beneficiary of an additional stimulus package provided by the Housing & Urban Development Department of the Obama administration, announced Mayor Jill Duson at a budget meeting yesterday afternoon at the city hall.
The additional funds for Portland amount to $572,670 and will be disbursed under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). These funds, CDBG-R are to be disbursed as “one time money” only. The criteria for disbursing these federal funds is in the “same spirit of the recovery funds” said T. J. Martzial, HNS Division Director for the City. In other words, the funds should be used for infrastructure and energy efficiency type projects Martzial said.
The proposed projects need to be submitted to the federal government by June 5 for its persual and approval. The government will be scrutinizing the list carefully to be sure the proposed projects carefully meet the new criteria under the Recovery Act. While the proposals that did not receive funding from the last distribution of CDBG funds will be reconsidered, because of the new criteria, many of them may not be eligible for these new funds.
Councilman Skolnik spoke in support of applying some funds for the proposed skateboard park. Mayor Duson expressed her support for distributing some of the new funds for the continued restoration of the Abyssinian Meeting House on Newbury Street.
Councilman Kevin Donoghue in an e-mail to MHN last week was non-committal in setting aside funds for the on-going restoration of the Abyssinian Meeting House which is in his District on the Hill.