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Community Development asks for community input

20130118 mission big red buttonMISSION – City of Mission’s Community Development Department is seeking community input regarding city facilities and services needed. A key method the city is using to gather information about these needs is through an online survey available on the city Website, www.missiontexas.us. The online survey was launched earlier this month.

According to the city’s Website, the information gathered through the survey will be used to establish priorities for the use of federal funding, specifically for the Community Development Block Grant.

The Community Development Block Grant Program, or CDBG, is a program that provides communities with resources to address a wide range of community development needs. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, HUD, began the program in 1974. CDBG provides annual grants to local government and states.

In the City of Mission, the grant is most commonly used for housing. Through the survey, Jo Anne Longoria, Community Development director, is hoping to learn what other areas the community wants to see improvements.

Longoria said the survey will help the Community Development Committee decide what recommendations to take to the city council regarding how to spend grant monies within the community. Hopefully, the survey will identify some priorities besides housing.

Although community development receives funding annually, Longoria said they are targeting a five-year plan. Community Development will be presenting their five-year plan to HUD, due in August.

Survey takers are asked to answer questions by choosing highly need, need, not need or not sure. The survey questions cover a wide range of topics and areas such as community needs; water, sewer, drainage, streets; public service needs; community concerns; housing assistance; overall quality of life; and the importance of items such as number of parks, clean streets and lighting.

Some items under community needs are youth centers, parking facilities, performing arts facility, historic preservation, and law enforcement information center. Garbage pickup, water improvements, new sidewalk construction, and sewer improvements are under water, sewer, drainage and streets.

Public service needs include senior care services, domestic violence services, youth services, employment skill training, literacy program, and services for terminally ill, among others.

Topics under other categories include emergency shelters, clothing distribution sites, police presence in neighborhoods, public housing, new home construction, housing for elderly, asbestos removal, ease of pedestrian travel, recycling collection, down payment assistance, transitional housing, veterans services, and mental health care.

The end of the survey includes a comment box for survey takers to use for additional thoughts.

Longoria said while the survey addresses a lot of different areas the grant monies could be used for, other grants are available as well. By knowing some priorities of the community, Community Development can look at other resources to utilize to address those needs.

Other grants may be available through Texas Parks and Wildlife, Texas Water Development, and other sources, such as non-profits, which could help in other areas of concern. The survey will help the Community Development Department know where else to look for additional monies if needed.

Once the survey is complete, the department will tabulate the results and present the information to their committee. The committee will then make choices based on that information to present to the city council and mayor for approval of where monies will be spent in the community.

In addition, the Community Development Department plans to hold a public hearing in the near future to get more input from the community.

The survey will be available online through February, possibly mid-March. Paper surveys are also available. Call 580-8670 for more information or go to http://www.missiontexas.us/. The button for the survey is at the bottom right. The survey is available in English and Spanish.

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