LAWRENCE — Kids would learn boxing, boating, leadership and music appreciation.
Immigrants would learn English.
Low-income families, buying their first homes, would get help with the down payments.
Lead paint would be scraped from the walls, trim and window panes of older homes.
And city parks would get improvements, the homeless would get help finding permanent housing and Groundwork Lawrence would get funding to hire 50 high school students to organize local environmental and health initiates under a plan to spend $2.2 million in federal grants that the City Council received Tuesday from Mayor Daniel Rivera and Community Development Director Vilma Martinez-Dominguez.
Just over $1.5 million of the money would come from the federal Community Development Block Grant program, which every year provides no-strings aid to municipalities that typically use it to rebuild parks, streets and other infrastructure and support local non-profit agencies.
The non-competitive grants are awarded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development based on a formula that includes a municipality’s population, poverty level and the age of its housing stock.
The City Council on Tuesday referred the project list Rivera and Martinez-Dominguez proposed to a committee, which will review it and return it to the full council. If the council signs off on the projects, the list would go back to HUD for a final approval, which typically is routine.
Martinez-Dominguez and Rivera have proposed awarding $200,000 of the $1.5 million CDBG grant to 15 private community service organizations. The awards include $20,000 to Groundwork Lawrence to pay salaries to its Green Team of high school students and for a summer enrichment program, $15,000 to the Greater Lawrence Community Boating Program to teach kids to sail and kayak, $5,000 to the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence for a leadership program, and $5,000 to Canal Street Boxing for a youth program.
Five other local nonprofits, including Lawrence Community Works and the Lawrence Adult Learning Center, would divide $70,000 for their English for Speakers of Other Language programs.
The city would spend the remaining $1.3 million of the CDBG grant to support its own programs, mostly to improve infrastructure and build or rehabilitate housing.
Among them, the city would spend $260,000 to leverage a separate state grant to improve parks, $175,000 to remove lead paint from old housing and $304,000 — 20 percent of the entire CDBG grant — to administer and oversee all of the programs that the CDBG grant would support.
The city is receiving another $683,000 from the federal HOME program, which supports local affordable housing initiatives. HOME requires that localities allocate at least 15 percent of their grants to the Community Housing Development Organization, a non-profit that develops affordable housing. Rivera and Martinez-Dominguez are proposing allocating $127,000 of the HOME grant to the organization.
Rivera and Martinez-Dominguez proposed awarding the biggest share of the HOME grant to first-time, low-income home buyers. who would get $200,000 to help with their down payments.