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Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) - Downtown Revitalization (DTR)

Grants to Nebraska Municipalities for the
Revitalization of Downtown Commercial Districts

Agency Type:

State

Funding Source:

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Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED)

Deadline Date:

09/30/18

Description:

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Grants to Nebraska municipalities to support the economic revitalization of downtown areas. The purpose of this program is to foster investments that will contribute to the redevelopment of downtown infrastructure, thereby addressing safety and health concerns, as well as developing a greater capacity for growth. Funding is intended to develop viable urban areas through the provision of decent housing, with an emphasis on low and moderate-income communities.

Overview:

The purpose of the Downtown Revitalization Category is to foster investments that will contribute to the revitalization or redevelopment of downtown infrastructure and develop a greater capacity for growth, addressing health and safety concerns and commercial revitalization within the traditional business centers of Nebraska communities. This provides a sound basis for fostering local economic development through public and private sector partnerships. This recognizes the importance of the condition and viability of a downtown to increase the community’s tax base and create a center for community activity. These projects directly relate to business retention, expansion, and location decisions, recognizing that downtowns reflect the economic core and persona of Nebraska communities.

Activities assist communities to implementation of comprehensive downtown revitalization plan in order to stabilize and enhance clearly defined downtown areas, providing benefit to low- and moderate-income residents of the community or aid in the elimination of substandard or blighted structures and areas in the downtown.

DTR resources are for implementation of the project (i.e. physical improvements to the built environment); such funds become available to the applicant upon successful completion of the requirements of a downtown revitalization predevelopment/planning study. Because responsible, intelligent implementation arises from well-informed planning processes, applicant must make available their DTR study prior to, or along with the application for DTR resources. Applicants interested in applying for the predevelopment/planning phase do so by applying within the CDBG Planning Category cycles. Use of CDBG resources for planning activities is not required to access DTR resources.

For the current program year, activities must meet the primary national objective of benefiting low- and moderate-income persons.

Eligible Activities:

The primary national objective of the CDBG Program is the “development of viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment, particularly for low- and moderate-income persons.” Eligible activities are those identified as State Priorities in the Housing and Public Works program categories.

DTR project activities must be primarily located in the downtown area (i.e. central business district, downtown redevelopment district, etc.) of the applicant community, but may include limited adjacent areas that provide access to the downtown. The proposed activities may be broad in nature and should include both public and private activities.

The following activities are eligible within the DTR category. If any activity is not noted below, please consult the DED Primary Contact in order to determine if any other proposed activities are eligible for the DTR category.

All public facility and infrastructure activities that are also eligible under the Public Works (PW) Category of the Nebraska CDBG Program that are located in the downtown area. Activities may include, but are not limited to, the following:

-Street improvements including curb, gutter, and sidewalk, which may include energy efficiency improvements for lighting, storm sewer improvements; flood control drainage improvements;

-Removal of architectural barriers; and single or multi-use facility improvements that are designed to provide public recreational and social activities;

-Removal of architectural barriers that restrict accessibility for elderly and handicapped person in support of public facilities/infrastructure, which includes buildings used predominantly for the general conduct of government.

-Loans to businesses located in the designated downtown business district for façade improvements, which may include energy efficiency improvements*

-Loans to businesses located in the designated downtown business district to improve deficiencies in meeting community codes, which may include energy efficiency improvements.*

-Acquisition, clearance, and code enforcement activities that support other revitalization activities.

-Historic restoration, rehabilitation and preservation for physical structures and infrastructure in a defined downtown business district.

CDBG National Objective:

All CDBG-funded project activities (including any required match and leverage funds) must meet one of two National Objectives of the CDBG Program. A project or project activity that fails to meet a national objective is ineligible for CDBG resources. These national objectives are briefly described below:

-Benefitting low- to moderate-income persons (LMI), including: on an area basis (LMA); serving a limited clientele (LMC); or LMI Housing (LMH); or
-Aiding in the prevention or elimination of slums or blight, including: on an area-basis (SBA); and on a spot basis (SBS).

DED gives priority to projects meeting a LMI National Objective.

Eligible Activities:

Activities eligible for assistance under the state’s CDBG program are only those authorized in Section 105(a) of the amended 1974 HCD Act. The general rule is that any activity listed in Section 105(a) may be funded in whole or in part with CDBG funds. Below is a partial list of activities from Section 105(a). Communities should be aware that although an activity may be legally eligible under Federal statute and HUD regulations, it may not be competitive under the guidelines and ranking system in the respective Nebraska CDBG Program Category.

The following activities are eligible within the DTR Program. If any activity is not noted within the list below, please consult a CDBG Program Representative in order to determine if any other proposed activities are eligible for the program. In general, this includes all public facility and infrastructure activities, also eligible under the Public Works Program Category, located in the downtown business district or downtown redevelopment district. Activities may include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. Street improvements including curb, gutter, and sidewalks, which may include energy efficiency improvements for lighting; storm sewer improvements; flood control drainage improvements;

2. Removal of architectural barriers; and single or multiuse facility improvements that are designed to provide public recreational and social activities;

3. Removal of architectural barriers that restrict accessibility for elderly and handicapped persons in support of public facilities/infrastructure, which includes buildings used predominantly for the general conduct of government.

4. Loans to businesses located in the designated downtown business district for façade improvements, which may include energy efficiency improvements.

5. Loans to business located in the designated downtown business district to improve deficiencies in meeting community codes, which may include energy efficiency improvements

6. Acquisition, clearance, and code enforcement activities that support other revitalization activities.

7. The acquisition of real property (including air rights, water rights, and other interests therein) which is:
a. Blighted, deteriorated, deteriorating, undeveloped, or inappropriately developed from the standpoint of sound community development and growth;
b. Appropriate for rehabilitation or conservation activities;
c. Appropriate for the preservation or restoration of historic sites, the beautification of urban land, the conservation of open spaces, natural resources, and scenic areas, the provision of recreational opportunities, or the guidance of urban development;
d. To be used for the provision of public works, facilities, and improvements eligible for assistance under this program; or
e. To be used for other public purposes.

8. The acquisition, construction, reconstruction, or installation (including design features and improvements with respect to such construction, reconstruction, or installation that promote energy efficiency) of public works, facilities (except for buildings for the general conduct of government), and site or other improvements.

9. Code enforcement in deteriorated or deteriorating areas in which such enforcement, together with public improvements and services to be provided, such activities may be expected to arrest the decline of the area.

10. Clearance, demolition, removal, and rehabilitation (including rehabilitation which promotes energy efficiency) of buildings and improvements (including interim assistance, and financing public or private acquisition for rehabilitation, rehabilitation, or privately owned properties and including the renovation of closed school buildings).

11. Historic restoration, rehabilitation, and preservation for physical structures and infrastructure in a defined downtown business district.

12. Payments to housing owners for losses of rental income incurred inholding for temporary periods housing units to be utilized for relocation of individuals and families displaced by CDBG activities.

13. Disposition (through sale, lease, donation, or otherwise) of any real property acquired with CDBG funds or its retention for public purposes.

14. Payment of the nonfederal share required in connection with a federal grant in-aid program undertaken as part of activities assisted under this program.

15. Relocation payments and assistance for displaced individuals, families, businesses, organizations, and farm operations, when determined by the grantee to be appropriate activities.

16. Payment of reasonable administrative costs and carrying charges related to the planning and execution of community development and housing activities, including: the provision of information and resources to residents of areas in which community development and housing activities are to be concentrated with respect to the planning and execution of such activities, and including the carrying out of activities as described in Section 701(e) of the Housing Act of 1954 on the date prior to the enactment of the Housing and Community Development Amendments of 1981.

17. Activities carried out by public or private nonprofit entities, including:
a. Acquisition of real property;
b. Acquisition, construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or installation of public facilities (except for buildings for the general conduct of government);
c. Site improvements; and
d. Utilities.

The eligible activities must substantially benefit the designated service area. As the primary national objective, DED gives priority to those activities meeting an LMI National Objective. IMPORTANT NOTE: Per HUD rules and guidance, some activities listed above cannot meet the LMI National Objective; therefore, are not eligible in 2018. For more information and with the understanding that the Nebraska State Program has priorities defined in the AAP, reference the HUD Guide to National Objectives and Eligible Activities for State CDBG Programs.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 181548

Estimated Size of Grant:

The maximum grant amount for DTR implementation project cost activities will be $400,000, exclusive of supporting project and general administrative costs. The cost per resident beneficiary for infrastructure (i.e. eligible activities under the Public Works category) cannot exceed $3,000, except for daycare centers where it cannot exceed $10,000.

General Administration include includes those costs that are administrative in nature with exception of pre-program costs, such as payment or reimbursement of application preparation fees, costs of conducting local surveys, etc. Common line items costs are environmental review, fair housing activities, financial audit (if necessary), labor standards enforcement, preparation of required grant progress reports and drawdowns. Matching funds are not required. Up to 10% of project costs can be used for general administration, not to exceed $35,000.

Construction Management costs related to compliance with Davis-Bacon and Related Acts (DBRA) may be budgeted separate from general administration costs under Activity 0380 Construction Management. Matching funds are not required. Maximum of $10,000 in CDBG funds can be used under Activity 0380. Where the maximum is not used, by contract budget amendment these funds can be moved to other project-activities, not general administration activity costs.

Housing Management (0580) costs include finance-related costs; credit reports, title binders and insurance; surety fees; recordation fees, transaction taxes; legal and accounting fees, including; cost certification; appraisals; environmental reviews; builders’ or developers’ fees; architectural, engineering, and related professional services; homeowner counseling; project audit costs; affirmative marketing and fair housing services to prospective tenants of an assisted project; and staff costs directly related to projects. Overall this includes any costs that are related to the specific units and applicants served by the rehabilitation project. Up to 10% of housing Project Costs for Housing Management activities may be requested, not to exceed $35,000

IMPORTANT NOTE: Lead Based Paint (LBP) testing, risk assessments, and clearance testing are limited to $1,500 per unit.

Term of Contract:

Projects are to be completed within twenty-four (24) months following notice of approval.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible Applicants:

Eligible Applicants include every Nebraska incorporated municipality with a population of less than 50,000 and who are not classified as a CDBG Entitlement Community (including Omaha, Lincoln, Bellevue, and Grand Island). Eligible units of general local government may apply individually for DTR activities.

DTR resources are only available for communities that can demonstrate and provide a completed a pre-development planning study for downtown revitalization. This includes, but is not limited to, “DTR Phase I” applicants from prior program years as well those that successfully completed downtown revitalization planning studies with or without the use of CDBG resources.

Ineligible Activities:

The following activities are ineligible within the DTR Category. If any activity is not noted within the list below, and is not listed as an eligible activity, please consult a CDBG Program Representative in order to determine if any other proposed activities are eligible for the program category.

1. General administrative and audit costs that exceed the allowable maximum. Applicant may request up to 10% of Project Costs for General Administration activities, not to exceed $35,000.

2. Construction Management costs, where applicable, that exceed the allowable $10,000 maximum.

3. Applicant may request up to 10% of housing Project Costs for Housing Management activities, not to exceed $35,000.

4. Buildings, or portions thereof, used predominantly for the general conduct of government cannot be assisted with CDBG funds. Such buildings are defined as city and village halls, county administrative affairs of the government are conducted. This definition does not include such facilities as neighborhood service centers or special purpose buildings located in LMI areas that house various non-legislative functions or services provided by government at decentralized locations. This does not exclude, however, the removal of architectural barriers in order to make public buildings accessible to elderly and handicapped persons.

5. General government expenses cannot be paid with CDBG funds, except for those costs that are directly attributable to administration of a local CDBG program and are documented as such. (Eligible cost expenses are detailed in 2 CFR 200).

6. CDBG funds cannot be used to pay for facilities or equipment used for political purposes or to engage in other political activities such as candidate forums, voter transportation, or voter registration. However, a facility originally financed in whole or in part with CDBG funds may be used on an incidental basis to hold political meetings, candidate forums, or voter registration campaigns; provided all parties and organizations have access to the facility on an equal basis, and are assessed equal rent or use charges, if any.

7. The purchase of equipment with CDBG funds is generally ineligible, except:

a. The purchase of construction equipment is ineligible, but compensation for the use of such equipment through leasing, depreciation, or use allowance pursuant to 2 CFR 200 as applicable for an otherwise eligible activity is an eligible use of CDBG funds. However, the purchase of construction equipment for use as part of a solid waste disposal facility is eligible;

b. Fire protection equipment is considered for this purpose to be an integral part of a public facility and thus, purchase of such equipment would be eligible; and

c. The purchase of equipment, fixtures, motor vehicles, furnishings, or other personal property not an integral structural fixture is generally ineligible.

However, CDBG funds may be used to purchase or to pay depreciation or use allowances (in accordance with 2 CFR 200, as applicable) for such items when necessary for use by a municipality or county in the administration of activities assisted with CDBG funds, or when eligible as firefighting equipment, or when such items constitute all or part of a public service.

8. The general rule is that any expense associated with repairing, operation, or maintaining public facilities, improvements and services is ineligible. Specific exceptions to this general rule are operating and maintenance expenses associated with a public service activities, interim assistance, and office space for program staff employed in carrying out the CDBG program. For example, the use of CDBG funds to pay the allocable costs of operating and maintaining a facility used in providing a public service would be eligible, even if no other costs of providing such a service are assisted with such funds.

Examples of ineligible operating and maintenance expenses are maintenance and repair of streets, parks, playgrounds, water and sewer facilities, neighborhood facilities, senior centers, centers for the handicapped, parking and similar public facilities. Examples of maintenance and repair activities for which CDBG funds may not be used include the filling of pot holes in streets, repairing of cracks in sidewalks, the mowing of recreational areas, and the replacement of expended street light bulbs; and payment of salaries for staff, utility costs, and similar expenses necessary for the operation of public works and facilities.

9. CDBG funds cannot be used for income payments for housing or any other purpose.

Examples of ineligible income payments include payments for income maintenance, housing allowances, down payments, and mortgage subsidies. One-time payments made on behalf of persons or families to meet emergency needs such as housing or essential utilities is not an income payment and is eligible.

10. New residential construction activities or other activities associated with new residential construction purpose. Examples of ineligible income payments include payments for income maintenance, housing allowances, down payments, and mortgage subsidies. One-time payments made on behalf of persons or families to meet emergency needs such as housing or essential utilities is not an income payment and is eligible.

Pre-Application Information:

A 25% match is required. No more than half of the total project match may be in-kind source contributions.

Downtown Revitalization Implementation:
-Applications Due: September 30, 2018
-On-Site Reviews conducted: Fall 2018
-Anticipated Award: Winter 2018/19

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Jenny B. Mason
Nebraska Department of Economic Development
Housing and Community Development Division
PO Box 94666
Lincoln NE 68509-4666

Phone: 1 (402) 471-6280 (or) 1 (800) 426-6505
Fax: (402) 471-8405
jenny.mason@nebraska.gov

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Nebraska: Statewide, excluding Omaha, Lincoln, Bellevue, and Grand Island