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Tulsa Officials Begin Allocating Next Cycle of HUD Community Development Block Grants

The difficult process of parceling out the next round of federal community development grants has started in Tulsa.

While $3.1 million to $3.4 million is expected from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, some must be set aside for city endeavors. That includes about $282,000 that must go toward projects complementing the Eugene Field Neighborhood revitalization, which HUD granted $30 million dollars for.

"Part of the application process for the Choice Neighborhood was the city agreed to fund CDBG dollars for infrastructure improvements at $1.75 million over seven years. This year is the first year of those installments," said Rhys Williams in the City of Tulsa's Grants Administration Office.

That leaves $334,000 for a category of applications requesting $928,000 and leaves $780,000 for a category with $1.5 million in requests.

"So, we have some decisions to make this year, some hard decisions. We don’t have as much money to go around," Williams said.

While the federal government is still shut down, the allocation process can go ahead, and currently funded projects are only at risk if the shutdown starts interfering with reimbursement processing at HUD. City Grants Manager Gary Hamer said if a new federal budget cuts HUD funding, that’s a different story.

"If they decide to cut the allocations, that’s when we have to adopt a contingency plan by federal reg that says, 'If there’s a reduction in appropriations, you have to do this, this, this, this and this.' So, that’s when it’s of major concern to us," Hamer said.

The city council will make final funding decisions in April.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.