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Van Buren applying for grant on behalf of Boys and Girls Club

Ty Thompson
Press Argus-Courier
Cedarville Bys & Girls Club Unit Director Codee Garrett checks in club members at the Van Buren Boys & Girls Club, 1400 City Park Road, Tuesday, Jan. 26.

The City of Van Buren is applying for a grant from the Arkansas Community and Economic Development Program. If the grant is awarded the money will be used to renovate an unused area of the Boys & Girls Club.

The director of the Boys & Girls Club in Van Buren, Cindy Faldon, says they need to renovate an old storage area in their building to make useable program space so they can serve more kids.

"It will be an investment on city property, an investment on the Boys and Girls Club, and more importantly an investment for the young people," said Faldon. 

According to the guidelines of the Community Development Block Grant, only cities and counties may apply for CDBG grants. Grants cannot be made directly to nonprofit or for-profit groups or individuals. However, cities and counties may apply for projects that will benefit nonprofit groups or for-profit companies. The city will be acting as the physical agent of the Boys and Girls Club. 

If the grant is funded, in order to qualify to pay the matching fees, the club will be required to pay the architect fee. Faldon says that the amount will be around $18,000.

In order for the city to be eligible for funding, certain conditions must be met. 

As stated In the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, funds may not be received if a city fails to adopt and enforce a policy prohibiting the use of excessive force by law enforcement agencies within its jurisdiction against any individuals engaged in nonviolent civil rights demonstrations. 

A resolution was brought to the table confirming that the Van Buren Police Department had such a policy. Van Buren Police Chief Jamie Hammond confirmed that in 2017 an excessive force policy was adopted. 

This city must also have a citizen participation plan that allows the community to assess current issues in the city. A public hearing was held prior to the meeting to make sure these issues were acknowledged.