City of Jonesboro Could Lose Grant Money

March 4, 2005 – Posted at 2:39 p.m. CST

JONESBORO – Proposed cuts to the federal budget could be felt right here in Region eight. President Bush has proposed eliminating the Department of Housing and Urban Development program, and that means funding for some programs in Region 8 could be on the chopping block.

Grants Coordinator Paul Copeland said, "We've been able to accomplish so much with this program. It's things that we've been able to do that we wouldn't be able to do, had we not been able to secure these funds."

Copeland has only been the Jonesboro Federal Grants Coordinator for about a month and already he's working hard. If the HUD program is eliminated funding for the community development block grants could dry up.

"The current proposal is to develop a new program called strengthen America's communities," said Copeland, "There are a lot of uncertainties with that program, the budget is very vague."

Jonesboro is one of fourteen entitlement cities across the state to receive grants, and over the last 10 years, they've received more than $5 million dollars for projects like Parker Park.

"All of the sewer improvement projects in north Jonesboro, the Maze addition, Patrick Road, Greensboro Road, those improvements were done with CDGB funds," siad Copeland.

The cuts could also impact the landscape of Region 8.

"We have been able to use CDGB funds for demolition of substandard housing to try to clean up some of the blight areas in some of the communities," said Copeland, "So all of those programs are funded through the CDGB programs."

Congress appropriated $4.7 billion dollars for Federal Community Development Block Grant projects in 2005. Bush's proposed budget cuts for 2006 would spend only $3.7 billion dollars for all economic development and urban renewal grants.