Westside’s CDBG funds in good shape

       The rest of the city may be in financial hurt, but the capital improvements program for the Westside Neighborhood Strategy Area (NSA) is in good shape.

The city plans to use some of its Westside Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to construct sidewalk along Manitou Boulevard between Chestnut and Monument streets. This photo, looking east on Manitou Boulevard, was taken near the Boys & Girls Club at Manitou and Praderia Avenue.
Westside Pioneer photo

       With a carryover of $270,000 from 2008, just $9,000 in expenses since then (for design work) and a 2009 federal stipend of $250,000, the Westside NSA's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) now has $511,000 going into 2010, according to its program manager, Don Sides.
       One project, which has been under consideration for the past year, is expected to begin construction by the coming spring. That would be the construction of sidewalks along Manitou Boulevard between Chestnut and Monument streets.
       Because it's “still in the design stage,” Sides said he does not have a cost estimate yet; however, he had suggested previously (when the NSA funds were at $270,000) that the work could be done for less than that.
       “I hope to have the plans complete shortly after the first of the year, including costs.” Sides elaborated in an e-mail exchange this week.
       The sidewalks would chiefly be installed along the street in front of residences whose yards currently go up to the curb. Sides said that in most cases the city owns right of way there, even if many property owners aren't aware of it. “We are planning on meeting with the property owners, one on one,” he said. “Depending on how that goes, we may or may not feel we need to have a public meeting.”
       According to Sides, the street was chosen for sidewalks because of the number of schoolchildren walking along Manitou Boulevard or to the Boys & Girls Club at Manitou and Praderia Avenue.
       Sides gave a presentation on the CDBG program, including the Manitou Boulevard project, at a meeting of the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) Nov. 19.
       A future Westside NSA CDBG project, proposed by Sides, would add improvements (sidewalks, curb and gutter) on Armstrong Street between 17th and 21st streets. Sides said he plans to meet with OWN in the future and “discuss that idea in greater detail.”
       OWN, the city-recognized citizen advocacy group for the older Westside, covers mostly the same boundaries as those of the Westside NSA.

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