City seeks $3 million community development block grant to help build new senior center

The city of Sulfur Springs plans to apply for a $3 million community development block grant to help build a new senior center, which is expected to cost significantly more than originally projected due to continued increases in building materials. .

In December 2021, the Sulfur Springs City Council approved KSBR to work with city officials to complete the grant application to help fund construction costs for the new seniors’ activity center, then budgeted at approximately $3. millions of dollars.

On January 4, 2022, the City Council amended Resolution #1284 authorizing the submission of a CARES Act Community Development Grant application to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs for the Community Resilience Program and authorizing the City Manager to represent the City on all matters related to the City’s potential participation in the grant program. City staff said, as noted in a previous meeting, that they recommend an update in the resolution to include the proposed amount the city plans to request.

Oak Avenue property where a new senior center will be built

In December, city staff planned to apply for a $1.5 million grant, to double the amount of funding available for the project, which would not only offset increased construction costs over the past year . The additional funding would allow the city to expand the new senior center to approximately 11,000 square feet to better serve and meet the needs of those who use the facility.

In January, City of Sulfur Springs CFO/Deputy CFO Lesa Smith said the most recent estimates for construction of the new senior center were much higher than previously expected. In December, city officials estimated the entire project would cost about $3 million.

Senior Center sign for the current building

Sulfur Springs Community Development Manager/Deputy City Manager Tory Niewiadomski noted that Don Roundtree, who served as the Pacific Park project manager, helped prepare estimates for the construction of the new senior center, but without a ball. To see what materials prices will be in April, it’s hard to get a very accurate estimate.

“Just for the structure itself, to get the building up and finish the building – all permanent structures, the estimate was about $3,600,000 for the 11,000 square foot building,” Smith noted.

An estimate of $4.2 million to $4.3 million is the best and most recent figure based on inflation and current prices, city staffers said.

So, city officials plan to request $3 million from TDHCA’s Community Resilience Program. The grant will not apply to anything in the building that is not permanent, such as furniture. The city will use the 2020 bond financing and any other funds allocated to the project to cover the remaining costs.

Part of the grant process is to hold a public hearing to discuss the submission of a Community Development Community Resilience Program – Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) pre-application to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. This meeting will take place next Tuesday.

Community members, agencies, groups and individuals are invited and encouraged to attend the public hearing to be held at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, January 11, 2022, in the council chambers inside the building. Municipality of Sulfur Springs (City Hall), 201 North Davis St. Attendees will be able to hear information about the grant application and the planned project and voice any questions or comments they may have about the center project for people elderly during the public hearing.

Those unable to attend the January 11 public hearing may submit written comments on the project until 6 p.m. on January 11 to Tory Niewiadomski at [email protected].

Current building of the center for the elderly

The CDBG-CV Entitlement Program is designed to provide rural communities with funds to prepare for, prevent, or respond to the health and economic impacts of COVID-19. Activities must primarily benefit low- and moderate-income residents and align with one of the three national goals of HUD’s Community Development Block Grant Program.

The application will state that the City of Sulfur Springs is seeking “funds to support the Sulfur Spring Seniors Center, specifically the construction of a new facility to improve many services for seniors, including meal preparation, emergency housing and pandemic preparedness and response. These zones have already been certified to meet HUD’s definition for low- and moderate-income (LMI) zone benefits. Sulfur Springs is requesting funding from TDHCA in the amount of $3,000,000.

The grant application must be submitted by 5 p.m. on January 19 in order to meet the review deadline. Award notifications are expected to be made around March 10, 2022, with grant contracts due to begin five days later.


Norma P. Rex