Housing and Urban Development grants pass up Nashville again

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 2:41pm

Nashville has again missed out on federal grant money meant to promote community and regional development.

The Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization was denied a Sustainable Communities Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the second year in a row, losing out to 56 other grant applicants.

“Obviously we’re disappointed,” said Mary Beth Ikard, communications director of the Nashville Area MPO. “This is the second round of awards that HUD has made and our second attempt at garnering those funds to do the type of work we would like to do for the region.”

The only Tennessee jurisdiction to receive grant money this year was Shelby County, which was awarded $2.6 million for regional planning. Knoxville received $4.3 million from the same program last year. This is the second year HUD has awarded the grant money.

The Sustainable Communities Grants program was created by the federal government to “help communities and regions improve their economic competitiveness by connecting housing with good jobs, quality schools and transportation,” according to a HUD press release.

The Nashville Area MPO’s plan with the grant money was to “adopt a vision for future growth and regional comprehensive plan for sustainable development to be shared by local communities, resource management agencies and the private sector,” according to the Nashville Area MPO’s website.

“A lot of it was going to be stakeholder involvement in local communities … getting people to establish values around what they would like to keep as we grow in population,” Ikard said.

“There was a lot to that scope of work,” she added. “For example, we were going to send some money to the Land Trust for Tennessee on establishing a regional plan for open space.”

Ikard said the NMPO hadn’t received any feedback about why they weren’t selected, but they will request an official “debrief” from HUD.

Requests for more than $500 million in Sustainable Communities grant money were made, and $96 million was awarded to communities in all 50 states.

“The demand for sustainability grants is very high. … We’re confident that the mix of rural and urban proposals that we selected this year will have a great impact in their communities and will create thousands of jobs,” said Shelley Poticha, director of the HUD Office of Sustainable Housing Communities.

Funding for the Sustainable Communities grants through 2012 passed both the House and the Senate earlier this month, but there aren't any current plans to funds the grants past next year.

7 Comments on this post:

By: joe41 on 11/22/11 at 2:08

Where were our Senators in this?

By: Jughead on 11/22/11 at 2:50

These grants are always political. Go buy some votes on the taxpayer's dimes.

We just funded ghetto housing in Memphis that will be destroyed within a year after it was built. Gotta love the USA!

By: govskeptic on 11/23/11 at 6:18

Must agree with previous post that these dollars are dolled out for
political support, not need or other factors one might think would
be their purpose. One can bet that a majority of those dollars used
nationwide went to individuals that are engaged financially with Public
Housing and who bundle campaign contributions back to the
current Administration will receive the vast majority of dollars.

By: i.am.a.taxpayer on 11/23/11 at 8:56

Was the money only to be used to create a PLAN, or would there have been actual housing and services? Nashville should be able to create a plan without the federal government's assistance.

By: vicdmonvmr on 11/23/11 at 10:43

Hey Jughead i live in Memphis and apparently you have not seen what type of housing has been built with this money. I highly recommend you come visit.

By: BenDover on 11/25/11 at 8:57

Keep it all in Memphis... I prefer the the hardworking producers flee the Memphis area for Nashville rather than those people just looking for a better free apartment.

By: pswindle on 11/26/11 at 11:50

The GOP and Tea Party should be happy about this decision. They want the government out of everything. If the government withheld all tof the funds, every town, state and person would crumble. See the Federal Government is a wonderul tool for all.