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Elgin council to discuss grants for nonprofits

Updated: February 9, 2013 6:18AM

ELGIN — The city council Wednesday night will discuss which nonprofits should receive an anticipated $695,000 in federal money and $250,000 in casino tax money, and the council is set to award $7,500 in Neighborhood Improvement Grants.

As of Dec. 14, the city had received 17 applications totaling more than $1.2 million for federal Community Development Block Grants, which are used for projects that benefit people making less than 80 percent of the Elgin area’s median income.

Since 1975, Elgin has received more than $26 million in CDBG money — including $695,016 last year — and will be notified of its actual 2013-14 allocation in the spring.

After the public hearing on the CDBG money Wednesday, the council will review staff recommendations for awarding the money Feb. 13, hold a final hearing March 27, then submit paperwork by April 15.

Those seeking CDBG money this cycle are the Association for Individual Development; Blue Hippo Pedal Boats and Jah’s Concession Stand; Elgin Planning & Neighborhood Services; Community Crisis Center; Ecker Center for Mental Health; Greater Elgin Family Care Center; Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley; My Father’s Hands; Open Door Clinic of Greater Elgin; PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter) of Elgin; Renz Addiction Counseling Center; Senior Services Associates; the Housing Authority of Elgin; the Larkin Center; and VNA Health Care.

Riverboat funds

The council session Wednesday also will include a hearing to discuss awarding $250,000 from Elgin’s Riverboat Grant program, which was created in 2012 to provide an opportunity for local not-for-profit agencies to apply for funding through tax money the city gets from the Grand Victoria Casino — a change in policy from when certain agencies received line-item funding.

The system allows agencies to apply for both the CDBG and the Riverboat Grant, and it will use a point system to evaluate applications. As of Dec. 14, the city had received 35 applications totaling $684,271. As with the CDBG money, recommendations will be made Feb. 13.

In 2012 the city awarded $250,000 in Riverboat Grant money to the Ride in Kane transportation program, Boys & Girls Club of Elgin, Centro de Informacion, Easter Seals, Ecker Center, Elgin Soup Kettle, Feeding Greater Elgin, Literacy Connection, NHS of the Fox Valley, Open Door Clinic, Salvation Army, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, VNA Health, and Youth Leadership Academy. The Boys & Girls Club received $115,000, NHS received $35,000, and Ride in Kane — which subsidizes public transportation for people with disabilities — received $58,700. All other recipients received about $3,800.

Applying this time are Habitat for Humanity Fox Valley, Salvation Army Golden Diners, United Way of Elgin, Summit School Early Learning Center, Community Crisis Center, NHS, Fox Valley Volunteer Hospice, Elgin Junior Service Board, CASA Kane County, Well Child Center, YWCA, AID, Family Services, the Larkin Center, VNA Health, OakCrest, Northern Illinois Food Bank, Renz Addiction Center, Open Door Clinic, Centro de Informacion, Senior Services, Literacy Connection, Elgin Alano Club, Ecker Center, Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin Community Garden Network, Open Hope United/Elgin Child and Family Resource Center, Boys & Girls Club, Easter Seals, Greater Elgin Family Care Center, HOPE Fair Housing, Salvation Army, Food for Greater Elgin, the Girl Scouts, Prairie Valley of Elgin, and Ride in Kane.

Sustainability projects

In 1996, the city started a Neighborhood Improvement Grant Program, which in 2010 was revised to focus on funding projects related to sustainability. The program is funded from $70,000 set aside from casino taxes, requires a match from the applicant in volunteer time, cash or donated professional services.

Last summer, seven projects were funded, but one wound up being cancelled, leaving more than $27,000 available from the 2012 funding cycle. So on Wednesday, the council is set to move toward funding two more projects.

The Housing Authority of Elgin would receive $3,500 for a litter-prevention program in its Clifford Court/Owasco Court community and intends to partner with Century Oaks Elementary School on the effort.

Another $4,000 is set to be awarded to Judson University architecture professor Robin Randall to help produce an 8- to 15-minute educational documentary about designing sustainable buildings and teaching sustainability to school age children.

This short will focus on a project in which Judson architecture students were asked to design a school — theoretically just north of Gail Borden Public Library — built beyond the sustainable requirements of the Living Building Challenge (

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