Stimulus money coming for Kent County projects

June 7, 2009
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The Kent County Community Development Department got a green light from county commissioners recently to apply for a Community Development Block Grant that promises to address critical employment and economic development needs at six locations in the county.

The grant comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the money comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Kent County is in line to receive $418,186 for five street and sidewalk improvement projects, two energy upgrades and home-foreclosure counseling.

County CDD Director Linda Likely said the projects the grant will fund must be ready to get under way within four months. She also said the goal of her department is to hire as many local workers as possibly for the temporary jobs. Likely said she wasn’t certain at this point how many workers would be hired.

“There’s a process that HUD requires and we’re going through that process,” she said.

Here are the projects that the federal stimulus money will fund:

  • Alpine Township will receive $12,000 to improve the efficiency of its wind energy system, and $20,000 for improvements to residential sidewalks.

  • Casnovia will receive $22,000 to upgrade the energy system at the village’s Community Center.

  • The city of Lowell will receive $140,000 for street, curb and gutter improvements and street reconstruction.

  • Cedar Springs will receive $63,000 for residential street improvements.

  • Grand Rapids Township will receive $30,000 for residential sidewalk upgrades.

  • Lowell Township will receive $39,368 for residential sidewalk improvements.

  • Home Repair Services of Kent County will receive $50,000 for its foreclosure counseling program.

Another $41,816, or 10 percent of the grant total, will cover administrative costs.

The grant requires that all projects abide by the Davis-Bacon Act, which allows the U.S. Department of Labor to set a prevailing wage when federal money funds a contract.

In Kent County, for example, the act requires a concrete finisher to be paid $17 an hour with fringe benefits totaling $3.98 an hour and a laborer to receive an hourly wage of $12.30 and a benefit of $4.62.

Likely said she expects the county will be awarded the grant in July.

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