City seeks grant

The city of Lancaster is still looking to launch the last phase of its Main Street beautification project. However, work will depend on what type of funding officials receive. 

City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to allow City Administrator Helen Sowell to submit a $500,000 grant application for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, which has been a familiar source in the past. 

The money would help pay for new sidewalks, curbing, lighting and other work from Emmons Street south to the Lancaster city limits. The city would be required to provide the remaining $354,000 for the project, which will be the seventh phase of the Main Street series. 

Councilwoman Linda Blackmon-Brace said the amount the city is expected to contribute is much higher compared to past projects. A 10 percent match seems to be the norm, she said. 

“That is a lot of money,” Blackmon-Brace said about the $354,000. 

Brian Tripp, who oversaw the design for the project, agreed that the percentage the city would have to allocate is higher, but believes that could increase the city’s chance of being selected. 

CDBG grants are highly competitive, and reviewers will favor an entity that is willing to put more of its own money toward a project, Tripp said. 

He reminded council that nothing is set is stone yet concerning final costs. 

“That price hasn’t changed,” Tripp said. “You can elect, at some point in time, to scale it (the project) back.” 

Main Street water line 

Council also voted unanimously Tuesday to pay W.K. Dickson $135,000 for engineering services in preparation for work on a Main Street water line. 

The line is more than 100 years old. Two portions of the line “have some remaining life but other portions are in need of immediate replacement or rehabilitation,” Sowell said. 

The total project, estimated to be complete in 2013, would cost the city $1.48 million. 

Tripp, vice president for W.K. Dickson, said doing the work now will be cheaper compared to waiting until the line further deteriorates. 

“We’re trying to be proactive instead of reactive in this case,” Tripp said. 

By Jesef Williams, Staff Reporter with The Lancaster News