NRSA HUD designation allows City to target CDBG resources for community revitalization
SCHENECTADY – Mayor Gary McCarthy announced that the Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area (NRSA) designation proposed by the City of Schenectady’s Department of Development has received approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to support community revitalization efforts. The NRSA designation creates greater flexibility in the use of federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding that allows the City to target resources for public services in a defined area.
The City hosted a public meeting in November to gather input on the proposed designation, and previously received approval from the City Council. Mayor McCarthy and Director of Development Kristin Diotte will formally request that the City Council’s Development and Planning Committee adopt the designation next week as an amendment to the 2015-2019 Consolidated Plan.
“The creation of this designation has been a comprehensive process for over a year spearheaded by our Department of Development that included close collaboration with local residents and community organizations,” Mayor McCarthy said. “CDBG funds allow cities to strengthen vital services, improve neighborhoods, and increase the quality of life for residents and families in our community.”
Under HUD regulations, only 15% of the Schenectady’s annual CDBG funding can be used for public services, such as health care, child care, job training, education, addiction treatment, senior services, and fair housing. With this designation, CDBG funds for public services in the NRSA will not count towards the 15% cap. The NRSA designation therefore allows the City to target resources by creating greater flexibility that will help support distressed neighborhoods.
The approved NRSA comprises three Census Tracts (208, 209, and 210.2), located in the Eastern Avenue, Hamilton Hill, and Vale Neighborhoods. The area is bounded by Eastern Avenue to the north, Brandywine Avenue to the east, 890 to the south, and Veeder Avenue and Nott Terrace to the west.
“This designation will support our efforts to strategically and effectively align resources with the needs of the community,” said Kristin Diotte, Director of Development. “By partnering with residents and community organizations, it is our goal to complement and connect ongoing initiatives and ultimately build the capacity necessary for meaningful change to take place.”
In the 2018-2019 Annual Action Plan, some of the public service programs funded by the City through CDBG included the Boys and Girls Club of Schenectady, the Hamilton Hill Arts Center, Better Neighborhoods Inc., Schenectady Community Ministries (SICM), Schenectady Community Action Program (SCAP), the Vale Urban Farm, Community Fathers, and more.
The Proposed 2019-2020 Annual Action Plan, which will now be able to incorporate the approved NRSA, is scheduled to be presented to the City Council at the beginning of April.