Grant would benefit Oakland Heights

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Residents in the Oakland Heights neighborhood of Troy could see nearly 50 abandoned houses demolished, new fire hydrants and longstanding drainage issues resolved if a grant application is approved.

“The neighborhood needs improvement due to the slum and blighted conditions,” said council president Johnny Witherington. “This grant would allow us to do that.”

Council members authorized the application for a $450,000 Community Development Block Grant during Tuesday’s meeting, committing an additional $193,697 in city funds in a match to the project.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Investing more than $617,000 in the neighborhood would allow the city to address several issues.

“First is drainage,” said Tim Ramsden of CDG engineers. “We have some locations that we’ve looked at before that have storm drainage emptying in to the road. We’re going to address that … and help with erosion control.”

Tracy Delaney, project manager for South Central Alabama Development Commission, said the project would benefit more than 580 residents.

“If you look at the infrastructure portion, it’s just under 50 people affected … but if you look at the whole district, it’s a whole lot more. Within the district we have more than 580 people, and 393 housing units,” she said. “Of those housing units, about 100 vacant and more than 60 are vacant and abandoned.”

As part of the rehabilitation work, Delaney said owners of the vacant property would have the opportunity to voluntarily declare their property abandoned and therefore eligible for demolition and removal.

“Demolition is something people that people commented on the most while we were out there doing the surveys,” Delaney said, adding that many residents sought a way to remove the blight from the neighborhood.

In addition, the infrastructure work will improve draining lines and fire protection. “Right now, they don’t have any fire protection out there,” Ramsden said. “The water liens are one and a half inch or two inch galvanized lines, which is fine for residences but not sufficient for (hydrants). This project will allow us to add fire hydrants … that’s what the water improvements will be for, more than anything else.”

The grant applications are due to the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs by July 1. Troy officials will learn in the fall if the city received the grant.

In other business on Tuesday, the council:

• Approved an agreement with consultant Taffy Pippin to provide a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise plan for the Troy Municipal Airport. The plan is necessary to meet federal requirements for federal funding to improve the airport. The cost of the plan is $2,700.

• Denied a request from TruGreen of Montgomery to allow door-to-door solicitation for grass and lawn services. “It’s been a practice of the council since I’ve been on it not to do this,” said Marcus Paramore, District 3.

• Amended the existing Title VI plan for the Pike Area Transportation System to allow for the addition of the name of the new program directory.

• Declared a 2008 PATS van surplus.