City officials are hoping to leverage federal funds to pay for new traffic control signals along Main Street.
About $31,000 has been earmarked for the City of London on the 2016 application for Community Development Block Grants, approved by Madison County commissioners during a public hearing on Monday.
The county is eligible for $120,000, said Whitaker Wright, the county’s grant consultant.
The signals, with incandescent lights, have been in place since the 1990s. Companies have stopped making replacement parts and bulbs, Wright said. The new signals would essentially look the same, but boast LED technology and cost less to run, said Nate Ernst, the city’s street superintendent.
New signals would be placed along Main Street from Fourth Street to Center Street.
The city would provide a $31,000 matching grant for the project. If the grant is approved, the new signals should be installed next spring, Ernst said.
The city is one of two entities hoping to receive the funds. The county is applying for $65,000 to demolish the former First Baptist Church, 61 W. Fourth St. The property, located adjacent to the new municipal courthouse, was purchased by commissioners last year to provide a parking lot.
Wright said about $15,000 is expected to be used toward asbestos removal, with the remaining $50,000 on the demolition itself. He said because the property is deteriorating, used for vagrant housing and infested with raccoons, it is eligible for slum and blight funding. He said there is also a concern the church’s bell tower may fall down during a severe wind storm.
The county has obtained documentation from inspectors verifying the blight status, Wright noted.
The remaining $24,000 of the annual allocation will go toward program administration.
Commissioner David Dhume asked Wright if his program administration fee could be reduced to allow more funding for the city.
Wright said Dhume could ask his boss about the figure.
Approval is expected in October, with funding released the following month. Wright said he would anticipate going out to bid the asbestos project in February.
CDBG grants annually fund local community development activities, such as affordable housing, anti-poverty programs and infrastructure development. The program is under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Andrea Chaffin can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1619 or via Twitter @AndeeWrites.