The Local Development Corporation will receive a $199,000 grant from the Kentucky Housing Corporation as part of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund Home Repair Program.
Downtown Renaissance Director Holly Boggess made the announcement Thursday at the LDC meeting, noting that once the funding agreement is finished, applications will be made available.
Boggess explained that KHC will give $15,000 per structure, but it must be single-family and homeowner-occupied. Boggess said the program will focus on homes in Durrett Avenue, Eastside, Canton Pike and Westside neighborhoods.
“Our hope is always that it increases property values and a safer place for families to live,” Holly said. “Our goal is to continue that momentum of residential revitalization.”
More information on how to apply for the Home Repair Program will be available soon.
Earlier in the meeting, the group heard an update about the Community Vision Plan 2030 from Taylor Hayes, who said nearly 1,200 surveys were turned in with over 5,000 ideas.
“That got pared down to 129 actionable items,” Hayes said. “It wasn’t because we didn’t like something. It was just mostly because of duplication. Now we’re asking the community to pick 10 of their top priorities in each of those five areas.”
Those areas are:
1. Economy, employment and infrastructure
2. Housing, neighborhoods and districts
3. Safety, governance, wellness and sustainability
4. Livability and recreation
5. Education and workforce
Hayes said he believes the LDC plays a role in the housing, neighborhood and district category specifically.
He estimated nearly 12% to 15% of all the ideas had some sort of downtown, inner-city component.
“One of the things heard over and over again is redefining, renaming Inner-City REZ to bring more uniqueness and pride to the local neighborhoods,” he said. “I’ve heard that a lot in a lot of different sectors and not just from individuals who live in the inner city.”
Hayes said “more housing opportunities in price ranges that make sense and are attractive” was another common response in the surveys.
Hayes said the Community Priorities survey is now open for anyone to take online at christiancountyvision.org. Respondents can vote for their favorite idea under all five categories.
From there, a cohesive Community Vision Plan will be developed with actionable items for local government, agencies, nonprofits and the community as a whole to consider working toward, Hayes noted.
LDC board chair Peg Hays had several questions about how the surveys are being disseminated to different groups, such as seniors and low-income residents.
“I’ve heard some things at places like Chapel House that they don’t go online,” Hays said of accessing the online-only survey.
Hayes said he was willing to print off surveys for residents who can’t access it otherwise.
Community Development Services Director Steve Bourne asked how the vision plan would be executed once the community’s priorities are identified as well as how will each agency know what their role is.
“(We need) coordination in this because we don’t want groups doing the same thing,” Bourne said. “Resources are pretty scarce so we’re trying to maximize resources and avoid duplication.”
Hayes said naturally coordination might fall to the chamber, but the power to execute is in the organizations.
“At the end of the day, it’s going to be up to that organization to determine how much they are willing to put into it, both financial and also staff,” Hayes said.
After Hayes’ presentation, the group moved on to approve sponsorship for upcoming community initiatives, including $150 for tree trimming in Westside Neighborhood; $375 for a spot on the chamber of commerce’s Christian County-opoly game board; and $1,000 toward the mural competition put on by the Hopkinsville-Christian County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Boggess explained that this spring local artists will submit their mural idea for public voting, and the winning murals will be brought to life on buildings downtown.
The visitors bureau will cover the paint and equipment funds, Boggess noted. The two winners will each receive $1,000 sponsored by the LDC and the visitors bureau.
“This is intended to be a project that enhances interaction with the community and encourages folks to kind of pose in front of the murals to take photographs using hashtags #visithopkinsville and #downtownrenaissance,” Boggess said.
The murals are expected to be complete by July 4, she said.
In other business
- The Local Development Corporation went into closed session Thursday to discuss property disposition and acquisition. Board chair Peg Hays said no action was taken.
- Karen Phelps, with Thurman Campbell Group, reported a clean audit for the LDC with no findings.
- The electric-car charging station at the Sudden Service Station is now working, Boggess said.
- The Downtown Farmers Market will open April 18. Days and hours of operation will now be from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday and Saturday, and night markets will be from 3 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
- The board voted to reappoint board members Derrick Watson and James Victor to another four-year term.