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Belhaven to hold a public hearing regarding block grant

The Town of Belhaven is preparing to apply for North Carolina Chamber of Commerce for Small Cities Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) – Coronavirus program funds. 

“This funding source has been depleted. However, we are hearing that there is a possibility that more of these CDBG COVID-19 relief funds are going to be coming available,” said Lynn Davis, town manager of Belhaven. “We are still going through the process so that if we do hear an announcement that funds are available, we have an application ready to go.”

A public hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 11 at 6:00 p.m. The town plans to, if granted the funds totalling at $900,000, complete three projects that will support community members through the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. 

“Each one of the programs had to have a different set of guidelines as far as who was eligible and how to apply for the funds. When this program rolled out, we had some projects in mind but we had not started the planning for these projects. This will put us in a position to be able to act on these projects,” said Davis. 

Expanding broadband services in Belhaven would increase public access to wifi in areas throughout the town. 

“The timing would be such that, particularly with the public wifi project, as soon as the grant funds were awarded, we would be ready to proceed with that almost immediately,” said Davis.

In addition to the expansion of broadband access, two other projects would be achievable through the use of grant funds.  

“Another piece of this grant would be utility assistance for our customers that have had difficulty with keeping their bills up to date,” said Davis. “There’s also a testing facility some work could be done on, it’s a building downtown called the Wilkinson Center and that would be included in this grant.”

The meeting will be held at the Belhaven Civic Center at 257 W. Pungo St., Belhaven, NC, 27810. Citizens can participate in person or through Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87224357752?pwd=Y252ZktJRW54bnRoQm1saHM0OWt0dz09

“The funds are first come first serve and we were not prepared to respond when the first allocation became available. Now, we’re trying to be prepared should additional funding become available.”