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Revitalization project will bring $1.7 million for new homes in west side development

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By Becky Barnes

While third time may be a charm, city leaders are hoping four is their lucky number.

For the fourth time since the 1997 flood ravaged the west side of Cynthiana and the adoption of a 2000 redevelopment plan, a grant has been sought to rebuild the area. The city is required to submit a pre-application outlining its plans for the funding. Then, at the mercy of the state, the city may be invited to submit an actual application.

That is the stage at which the west side Community Development Plan is now.

City leaders were notified two weeks ago that they would be in the running for a $1 million grant to make improvements in the blight-stricken area west of Main Street.

A handful of property owners and residents attended a public hearing on Tuesday to get an overview of the proposed project.

Brian Kirby of CEDA/WJL and Associates, who is spearheading the project, said that if at least three major systems are deemed failing, a structure is considered dilapidated. Those systems could be roofing, plumbing, electric, flooring, walls or other areas.

Kirby told residents the 16 properties on the revitalization list were found dilapidated solely from exterior assessments.

Property owner Jeff Hopkins said that some of the houses on the list are not dilapidated.

Kirby explained that the project looks at the area as a whole.

Its an entire blighted area, Kirby said. So, even the best home, because its in the blighted area, may fall.

Kirby added that there will be an appeals process.

Its vitally important that all property owners have equal opportunity to be treated fairly and have due process for appeals, said Cynthiana Mayor Jim Brown.

What the project proposes is to buy the 16 parcels and combine them into 10. The old homes will be demolished and the lots sold to two non-profit organizations. Community Ventures and Community Action Council will then build new homes and sell them back to the property owners or others who meet the eligibility requirements.

The two non-profit organizations will bring another $700,000 to the project to add to the $1 million grant.

This is the second phase of the revitalization project. The first was handled in the same manner through Will Linder Associates and Community Ventures.

Properties in this phase include: 206, 208, 210, 212, 201, 205, 207, 209, 213, 215 W. Mill St., 110, 112, 116, 204 206 N. Locust St., and 109 N. Poplar St.

Kirby told those in attendance that monies for this project are federal dollars and not subject to recent state budget cuts. Although the state administers the grant, the funds are restricted to projects like Cynthianas.

We dont have a lot of competition this year, but we have good competition, Kirby said of the other projects invited to apply.

He said that once the city is approved, appraisals of the properties can begin. Its through an initial appraisal and a review appraisal that settlement offers are made to the property owners.

He noted that the owners/residents and even rental tenants will be offered relocation benefits. Recipients can use that money toward the purchase of one of the new homes or relocate somewhere else.

Kirby said he anticipates an announcement in May or June regarding the citys application. Once that approval is made, the project will move forward.

Were trying to make a dream for 10 more families, Kirby said.