Grant money tabbed for home improvements, code enforcement

Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS — City officials are seeking public comment on the distribution of nearly $500,000 in 2009 Community Development Block Grants.

Already the city and municipal consultants from Northville-based McKenna and Associates have put together a tentative plan for the funds.

At $401,000, residential rehabilitation loans is the largest component of the city’s suggested uses. Officials said the purpose of the program is to provide low-interest loans to income-eligible homeowners throughout the city for housing repair where the cost is less than 50 percent of the house’s market value.

McKenna’s lead planner for the project, Susan Traxler, said the aim for the rehab loans is to get substandard houses into compliance with city code. She said all residents are eligible for the loans, which are given out on a first-come, first-served basis.

Also on the list is $80,000 to help defray the city’s code enforcement efforts in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods. The program includes ongoing funding and assistance for staff, data collection, administration, transportation and other related code-enforcement activities.

Finally, the city has tabbed $15,000 to go toward bringing curbs up to Americans with Disabilities Act standards. Its current, ongoing curb replacement program focuses on updating old walkways to make them accessible to people with disabilities.

Traxler said the city is interested in discussing practicable alternatives to those projects, obtaining information on any potentially adverse impacts caused by the programs, as well as identifying measures that could help curb any negative effects.

To make a comment or ask a question, residents can call Traxler at (248) 596-0920. Written comments should be addressed to Hassane Jamal, Director, City of Dearborn Heights, Community and Economic Development Department, 26155 Richardson, Dearborn Heights MI 48127.