Home Local News What south Hobbs needs is input from residents about that area’s concerns

What south Hobbs needs is input from residents about that area’s concerns

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The City of Hobbs needs its’ citizens input.

City of Hobbs planners are hosting two public meetings on Thursday to discuss any future Community Development Block Grant program projects. The meetings are scheduled for 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. in the Hobbs City Hall Annex city commission chambers, 200 N. Broadway. Two previous public meetings took place on June 22.

The purpose of the citizen input is to give some insight and possible direction to any CDBG projects the City of Hobbs may receive federal funding for in the future. The New Mexico Department of Finance Administration administers the federal CDBG funding that comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The type of funding for which the city is applying benefits areas of low and moderate income, with the percentage of residents meeting that qualification playing heavily in the points-based application. That percentage is 51 percent, which requires city employees to perform door-to-door surveys.

The CDBG program was established under Title I of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 in order to assist community in providing “essential community facilities, providing decent housing for residents, promoting economic development and maintaining a suitable living environment.”

Since 2008, the City of Hobbs has used CDBG funding to improve infrastructure in neighborhoods in southern Hobbs. Street development projects have been enacted throughout the Booker T. Washington Elementary School area bringing in new curbs, gutters, sidewalks and traffic control devices to existing streets.

City of Hobbs Engineer Todd Randall said the city’s objectives for the project is to benefit principally low and moderate income areas, aid in the prevention of slum or blight and to meet any community development needs where existing conditions pose health and welfare threats.

“Typically, we hang our hat here,” Randall told the Hobbs Planning Board last week. “Most of the grant applications are to benefit, principally, the low and moderately incomed.”

Randall said the funding available is up to $500,000 without certified estimates and up to $750,000 with certified estimates. The City of Hobbs must also offer at least a 10 percent match to these projects. Randall told the planning board the city has matched more.

“In the past we have done nearly a 50 percent match,” Randall said.

What Randall and other city planners and staff are hoping for is some input from some of these eligible neighborhoods on what its needs are. Those needs would then be assessed by city staff and ranked according to need, then presented to the planning board for its review. Once reviewed the board can make those recommendations to the Hobbs City Commission for its approval/disapproval.

Since 2008, Randall said the city has completed six CDBG projects that cost roughly $5.1 million. Of that funding, more than $2.6 million was grant funded while the other $2.45 million was from the City of Hobbs.

Some of these projects include neighborhoods on and around east Mar-land, from first street to Willow; Main and Humble Streets, from Dal Paso to Eighth Street; and Dunnam street, from Marland to Willow.

“All of areas either had no curb or gutter or sidewalks, drainage deficiencies or some street improvements,” Randall said.

The most recent were street improvements on Humble Street from Dal Paso to eighth.

Randall told the board there are two proposed projects listed for possible future CDBG usage. One project is street development along Midwest from Dal Paso east to past Ninth street and includes all of the north/ south streets between Main Street, south to the alleyway south of Midwest. “This goes along with connecting with existing infrastructure, either sidewalks and such,” Randall said.

Randall said some past staff discussions including interconnecting and connect all the residential areas to public facilities like Booker T. Washington Park and its area.

“A lot of these areas lack curbs and gutters, sidewalks and it didn’t make sense to jump too far away from these existing core community areas,” Randall said. “So we have always tried to connect and continue to connect to grow the area’s development.”

The other project is street development on a six-block area of Roxana, Humble and Main Street from Cecil to Grimes. This project caught the city’s eye through some citizens who went to the city about their neighborhoods.

“A lot of these projects come about because of neighborhood champions,” Randall told the board. “They hear about it, see improvements in the community and ask ‘why am I still driving down a street that doesn’t have curbs and gutters or sidewalks,’” Randall said.

Randall said the surveys in the two areas are close to completion and both have a good chance of meeting the low to moderate income grant funding requirements.

Those type of “neighborhood champions” is who Randall and the rest of the city staff want to hear from in regard to the infrastructure needs of Hobbs’ southern neighborhoods.

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