Groups from across the county pitched ideas for neighborhood improvement projects Monday night to the Beaufort County Council in the hopes of landing a federal community development block grant.
The community development grants are funded annually by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Developmentso local governments can offer a wide range of activities addressing housing and community development needs.
The funding also helps communities improve their quality of life and expand economic opportunities for low- to moderate-income residents, said Michelle Knight, director of community and economic development with the Lowcountry Council of Governments.
"In Beaufort County, a family of four making less than $52,700 per year is considered low- to moderate-income," Knight said. "This year, the focus is on public safety, so each project needs to make sure it's addressing this specifically."
Last year, more than $10 million in community development block grant funds, primarily for water and sewer services, went to 23 communities statewide. Local governments have to provide at least a 10 percent match.
A county council subcommittee will meet in the next few weeks to rank the proposed projects.
Four groups presented funding requests:
• The Mitchelville Committee requested $65,000 to renovate a facility at 200 Dillon Road on Hilton Head Island to use as a welcome center.
• Larry Holman, president of the Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce, requested about $900,000 to turn a blighted building on Bladen Street in Beaufort intoaffordable housing units.
• The Wardle Family YMCA in Port Royal requested $150,000 to provide affordable child care
• Ed Boyd, executive director of the Beaufort Housing Authority, did not make a formal request, but asked council members to keep affordable housing as a priority.
Last year, the county was awarded $436,060 to extend water service and connect households in Dale along Vidalia Road and parts of Keans Neck, Witsell, Kinloch and Porches Hill roads.
In other business, the Beaufort County Council:
• Agreed to apply for a state grant for ferry service to Daufuskie Island.
• Agreed to contribute $125,000 of county Parks and Leisure Service impact fees to match a state grant to build a public dock on the May River at Oyster Factory Park in Bluffton.