by Max Brantley
Joe Busby, a tireless Oak Forest neighborhood worker, alerts me to a city foulup that could cost the neighborhood its city alert center:
... The city moved the Alert Center from the Tyler Street Baptist Church to its current location into a city owned house on Harrison Street. The city used Federal CDBG funds for the house on Harrison. It has now been determined that CDBG funds can not be used. The city now has 90 days (the clock is ticking) to buy the house or sell the house.
I am very concerned that this situation may result in our Alert Center being closed. The closing of the Alert Center would beak the commitment that the board and city made to our neighborhood. I believe that the neighborhood, UALR, other anchor intuitions and the city can find another location in our area that could become the definitive location of our Alert Center.
No response so far to my question to the city manager about what went wrong here.
UPDATE: City Manager Bruce Moore says no one should infer that money was improperly spent.
We were just informed that houses we have built utilizing CDBG funds must be sold within 90 days. We are actively looking for another location in the area.
He added that the city had only learned of the HUD policy on houses built with block grant money this week and that he was confident the Oak Forest alert center would continue in another location.
Here's Moore's memo to the city board on the issue.