Shores to use block grants for senior transportation, jobs program

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published January 30, 2018

GROSSE POINTE SHORES — As Yogi Berra might have put it, it’s déjà vu all over again with regard to spending plans for this year’s Community Development Block Grant funds in Grosse Pointe Shores.

This year, the Shores anticipates receiving $17,636 in CDBG money, of which the bulk — $13,080 — is slated to be used for a jobs project. Of the remainder, $3,178 is expected to go to the nonprofit Pointe Area Assisted Transportation Services, or PAATS, which provides inexpensive, door-to-door rides to seniors and those with disabilities in the Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods. The rest — $1,378 — is going toward some of the administrative costs associated with facilitating the CDBG program at the municipal level, such as mandatory newspaper ads for public hearings.

During a Jan. 16 City Council meeting, the council voted unanimously in favor of the allocations. That meeting was the second of two public hearings on the allocations, with the first taking place administratively at 9 a.m. Jan. 9 at City Hall. There were no objections to the proposed spending at either meeting.

“We’re required by federal rules to hold two public hearings (on the proposed funding),” City Manager Mark Wollenweber said.

He said the jobs project portion is used to pay part of the salary given to students with special needs from the nonprofit Full Circle to run the Osius Park concessions stand in the summer, and to provide for a part-time Department of Public Works employee from Full Circle. Full Circle works with local schools to offer training and opportunities for those with special needs, and the jobs project in the Shores enables the students to learn and use their skills in a professional and supportive setting.

The Shores has been applying for, and receiving, CDBG monies since 2013. The funds — which originate from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development — are channeled through the Wayne County CDBG Program and can only be used for certain types of efforts.

Mayor Ted Kedzierski said the funds are beneficial for the city — which gets some needed personnel — and the students who receive paid work experience.

“This is consistent with the last couple of years,” Kedzierski said of the allocations.