ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
Forgetfulness or apathy on the part of some homeowners living in Hillsboro’s Neighborhood Revitalization area has at least temporarily cost them or their neighbors significant grant money for home improvements.
The City Hillsboro had been working on an application for a $300,000 block grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing for Small Cities. If approved, the grant would have gone toward home improvements within the designated area of the city that would have brought those homes up to city code.
To apply for the grant, the city needed surveys returned from 80 percent of the 110 households that received them. Only 57 surveys were returned; 88 were needed.
Now that the deadline has passed, the city cannot proceed with the grant application until the next deadline is established, which will be sometime after the first of the year.
“Had more people returned them, we definitely would have qualified as low to moderate income because there were a high percentage of them,” said Mayor Delores Dalke. “Because we were lacking 31 surveys, we were not allowed to finish the grant application.”
The situation does have a slim silver lining, according to the mayor.
“The good side of it is that once a survey is completed, it’s good for two years,” Dalke said. “So we will be able to use the 57 that were turned in.”
She said the city would try to collect at least 31 more surveys during the next month or so and be ready for the next window of opportunity.
“I am very disappointed, though, because we had an opportunity to help at least 20 homeowners with repairs to their homes to bring them up to code,” Dalke said. “Because of lack of interest, we will not be able to help them.”