MAC re­ceives $50,000 grant for naval base en­trance re­vi­tal­iza­tion

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By TIF­FANY WAT­SON twat­son@somd­news.com

Ap­prox­i­mately $3 mil- lion of state fund­ing and awards will ben­e­fit com- mu­ni­ties across the state of Mary­land this year. Some of those funds will come to the Town of In- dian Head, specif­i­cally Naval Sup­port Fa­cil­ity In- dian Head.

As of De­cem­ber 2016, the Charles County Cham- ber of Com­merce Mil­i­tary Al­liance Coun­cil re­ceived a $50,000 grant to fund the re­moval of blighted in­fra­struc­ture at the en­trance of NSF In­dian Head.

On Nov. 30, 2016, the Mary­land Depart­ment of Hous­ing and Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment (MDHCD) an­nounced the fis­cal year 2017 statewide awards of two neigh­bor­hood re­vi­tal­iza­tion grant pro­grams, pro­vided by the Strate­gic De­mo­li­tion Fund and Com­mu­nity Legacy. MDHCD awarded $3.2 mil­lion in Strate­gic De­mo­li­tion Fund awards for 15 projects in 12 coun­ties and $3.47 mil­lion in Com­mu­nity Legacy awards for

49 projects in 18 coun­ties.

Kevin Baynes, direc­tor of the com­mu­nity legacy and sus­tain­able com­mu­ni­ties divi­sion of neigh­bor­hood re­vi­tal­iza­tion, said the grant is not lim­ited only to de­mo­li­tion, but also geared to­ward ac­qui­si­tion, ar- chi­tec­tural en­gi­neer­ing work, in­fra­struc­ture work and even sta­bi­liz­ing and re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing his­toric build­ings.

“For the par­tic­u­lar project in In­dian Head, they wanted us to work with them to raze three va­cant build­ings right out­side of the naval fa­cil­ity. That’s some­thing that this pro­gram does — it’s ad­di­tion by sub­trac­tion, so of­ten times blight- ed build­ings are like can­cer. They spread and some­times by cut­ting out the can­cer it elim­i­nates the spread of such blight,” Baynes said.

In a press re­lease, Mary­land Sec­re­tar y of Hous­ing and Com- mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Ken­neth C. Holt said, “The Com­mu­nity Legacy and Strate­gic Dem- oli­tion Fund pro­grams are two of the depart­ment’s most pow­er­ful pro­grams for build­ing health­ier neigh­bor­hoods in Mary­land. Whether it’s im- prov­ing the fa­cades on Mary- land main streets, pre­serv­ing his­toric build­ings or re­mov­ing blight, these projects will en­hance neigh­bor­hoods across the state.”

Brian Klaas, mem­ber of the board of di­rec­tors of the Charles County Cham­ber of Com­merce Mil­i­tary Al­liance Coun­cil, said the MAC is very ex­cited about re­ceiv­ing the grant be­cause blight re­moval was a ma­jor part of the town’s Ur­ban Land In­sti­tute rec­om­men­da­tions and the fund­ing makes the town, along with the base, poised for growth.

“We be­gan the de­mo­li­tion project that we started a year and two months ago,” Klaas said. “We re­ceived fi­nally our let­ter of grant ap­proval from the state of Mary­land in De­cem­ber ... and we are ex­pect- ing to have the funds within in the next three to four weeks to com­plete the project. We think that fits well with what the town is try­ing to do in re­gards to blight re­moval and we are very proud to be a part of that.”

The Com­mu­nity Legacy Pro­gram pro­vides lo­cal gov- ern­ments and com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment or­ga­ni­za­tions with es­sen­tial fund­ing and gap fi­nanc­ing for im­por­tant projects that will strengthen lo­cal com- mu­ni­ties, sup­port­ing hous­ing and home­own­er­ship goals and at­tract­ing and re­tain­ing busi- nesses.

The Strate­gic De­mo­li­tion Fund as­sists with ac­tiv­i­ties that ac­cel­er­ate eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and job pro­duc­tion in ex- ist­ing Mary­land com­mu­ni­ties by clearing the way for re­de­vel- op­ment and re­vi­tal­iza­tion.

Baynes said many lo­cal gov- ern­ments of­ten times do not have enough cap­i­tal or fi­nanc- es in or­der to “raze build­ings.” He said the Strate­gic De­moli- tion Fund will as­sist with the dol­lars nec­es­sary to do blight elim­i­na­tion par­tic­u­larly where the build­ings are very vis­i­ble — such as right out­side of the naval base in In­dian Head.

“More im­por­tantly it pro­vides op­por­tu­nity [for lo­cal gov­ern­ments] to de­velop things that could be more aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing and func- tional. Some­times the va­cant build­ing will cut into progress and de­vel­op­ers don’t want to deal with go­ing back­wards — clean­ing up an old va­cant lot,” Baynes said.

Baynes de­scribes the op­por- tu­nity as “just a piece of a big- ger puz­zle.”

Ac­cord­ing to the MDHCD, when the Town of In­dian Head be­came a sus­tain­able com­mu­nity, it made the town el­i­gi­ble for fund­ing sources from many el­i­gi­ble pro­grams to ac­cess re­sources. When the MAC ap­plied for the grant, Va­lerie Car­pen­ter, Com­mu­nity Legacy Pro­gram re­gional project man­ager, and her team made a site visit to NSF In­dian Head.

“We want com­pa­nies that are look­ing to es­tab­lish a pres­ence on the base and we would like the com­mu­nity to look bet­ter as they drove to the fa­cil­ity. That’s why we be­lieve that re­mov­ing blighted build­ings was a great move for us,” Klaas said.

The MAC plans to com­plete the project this year be­fore mov­ing on to new re­vi­tal­iza­tion projects in town. Klaas said the MAC is look­ing for­ward to stay­ing part­nered with In­dian Head and mak­ing sure the base is suc­cess­ful inside and out­side of the gate.

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