HUD funds used to remove barriers, help seniors, plant trees B

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published December 16, 2015

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The Troy City Council voted unanimously to use Community Development Block Grant funds to plant trees, to assist low-income seniors and those with disabilities, and to improve sidewalk ramps so they are compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines.

The Troy City Council unanimously approved the applications to the county for the estimated $140,123 in Community Development Block Grant funds at the council’s Dec. 7 meeting.

The city of Troy has participated in Oakland County’s Urban County Community Development Block Grant Program since 1982.

Each year, the city submits projects deemed highest priority for inclusion in the Oakland County Action Plan to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The CDBG assists low- and moderate-income residents of the 51 participating communities in Oakland County.

The projects the city recommended for the 2016 CDBG program are $75,586 to remove architectural barriers and improve sidewalk ramps on Big Beaver, at Wilshire and Troy Center Drive; $42,037 to rake leaves, mow grass and shovel snow for low- and moderate-income seniors and those with disabilities; and $22,500 to plant 50 trees in the city rights of way on streets in Section 25, the area located between Maple and Big Beaver roads, west of Dequindre and east of Castleton.

“We and other communities are very fortunate to be able to do projects like this for seniors and communities in qualified areas and do things like removing barriers and making areas ADA compliant,” said Cindy Stewart, community affairs director for the city of Troy.

The areas that qualify for HUD projects are based on census information with regard to income, said Kurt Bovensiep, public works manager for the city of Troy.

He said that three or four different varieties of trees will be planted in areas where “there is nothing, at this point.”

“We don’t plant the same species in case of disease or insect infestation, so we don’t lose the entire urban forest,” he said.

The 50 trees will be planted in the fall of 2016.

In addition, the city planted over 300 trees throughout the city this year, at a cost of $100,000 from the city park budget and $20,000 in grant funding.