Warner Robins tries again for revitalization grant

wcrenshaw@macon.comApril 25, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- The city is making another try at a revitalization grant that was turned down two years ago.

City Councilman Daron Lee said he is hopeful of getting the Choice Neighborhoods grant this time because the city is using a different strategy. Two years ago, the city may have had the cart on the wrong end of the horse when it applied for a grant to revitalize a blighted area of North Davis Drive.

That grant would have been for actual implementation, including such things as demolition, renovation and construction. This time the city is looking to get a grant of up to $500,000 to create a comprehensive revitalization plan. The plan would then be used to apply for another grant to fund the implementation.

Lee, president of the Warner Robins Collaborative Partnership, discussed the grant application at Thursday’s monthly partnership meeting. The partnership includes leaders of an array of organizations that work toward betterment of the community.

The revitalization plan would encompass much more than fixing dilapidated buildings, Lee said. It would include initiatives related to education, job training and more.

“Everyone has to play a part in this,” he said. “You need to have multiple organizations involved.”

Developing the plan will be costly because it would include such things as architectural drawings, not just ideas written down.

While the exact area to be included in the grant application hasn’t been determined, it generally is the area of North Davis Drive and Ignico Drive.

The grant funds could be used by different organizations. The school system, for example, could use funds to develop a plan for an after-school program at Linwood Elementary School, which serves the area.

The deadline for the application is May 28, and the Middle Georgia Regional Commission is helping the city apply.

Choice Neighborhoods is a program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development aimed at improving blighted areas that have public housing or HUD-assisted housing.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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