City awarded $400,000 grant - Will be used to raze onetime city garage

    The city of Decatur has been awarded a $400,000 federal Community Development Block Grant to help pay for the cost of demolishing a former street department building that has been deemed a public hazard and an eyesore.
    The grant, announced Friday by Indiana Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, was made available through the Indiana Community Focus Fund and is administered through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA). Decatur was one of 38 Hoosier communities to share in CFF grants totaling $16,248,626.
    "This is wonderful news, just wonderful," Mayor John Schultz said Friday morning. "I'm very happy about this."
    Schultz said the city will pay 20 percent of the estimated $500,000 demolition project cost.
    The 116-year-old former city street department building, located between the police station and city swimming pool, has deteriorated greatly in the past year, it was noted at a meeting of the Decatur City Council earlier this year.
    The city in January was denied in its first attempt to secure grant funding for the project, but resubmitted its proposal and was successful in its second attempt.
    The structure is an accident waiting to happen, several city officials have said, due to the numbers of youngsters at the nearby pool plus a number of children in the neighborhood.
    "There is no need for the building; it is just a hazard," the mayor said earlier this year.
    As part of a project timetable submitted as part of the grant application, bids for the demolition will be accepted in February of next year, with the project to be completed by mid-summer.
     CFF grants assist Indiana’s smaller cities and towns with their long term development initiatives. The grant dollars fund projects such as sewer upgrades, new fire trucks, libraries and community centers.
     “The CFF program provides an opportunity for our rural areas to achieve goals they otherwise may not be able to,” said Skillman. “The fruition of the various projects will give each community a boost in a variety of ways from economic development to safety to infrastructure.”
    Skillman will host a ceremony to honor the grant recipients at the Statehouse on Sept. 21.