City eyes funds for housing

The City Council will consider whether to award $345,000 in federal affordable housing grants to the Jackson County Housing Authority for a project on Clay Street.

The federal Community Development Block Grants pass through the city to recipients of the City Council's choosing.

The council meets at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in the Ashland Civic Center, 1175 E. Main St.

The Housing Authority would like to use the money to pay for sidewalks, gutters and other street improvements for a joint city and Housing Authority project planned on Clay Street.

The project still must go through the regular land-use planning process, which includes a review by the Ashland Planning Commission.

On Nov. 4, the City Council decided to pursue the project when it approved a swap of city land along with city and Housing Authority funds for the 10-acre Clay Street property.

The city will give $620,000 in cash, land on Strawberry Lane valued at $1.2 million and a small parking lot on Lithia Way valued at $500,000. The Housing Authority will kick in $1.28 million in cash.

The total value of the assets is $3.6 million.

A June appraisal pegged the value of the Clay Street land at $3.2 million, down from an appraised value of $3.94 million in July 2007.

The Housing Authority will apply for more than $11 million in state and federal funding to build the project.

Because of the outside money the Housing Authority can bring in for the project, awarding the $345,000 in Community Development Block Grants means there would be a match of about $33 for every $1 of CDBG money spent, according to a memo from Ashland Housing Specialist Linda Reid to the City Council.

In other business Tuesday night, the council is scheduled to:

  • consider whether to halt plans to pave upper Beach Street because a majority of residents on the street sent a letter to the city in October saying they oppose paving;
  • consider whether to make any changes to the city's grant program for social services
  • and consider whether to dissolve the Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission and the Traffic Safety Commission in order to form an integrated Transportation Commission.

For a complete list of agenda items and details on each item, visit

Staff writer Vickie Aldous can be reached at 479-8199 or To post a comment, visit

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