District of Houston - file photo

District search for downtown improvement money continues

10th Street next on District’s downtown list

Turned down once for federal money to help finance its downtown revitalization program, the District of Houston is trying again.

This time it hopes an application to the Canada Community Revitalization Fund (CCRF) will be successful for monies for the north side of 10th St. East where one made last fall to the Community Economic Recovery Investment Program (CERIP) was ultimately denied this spring.

If successful this time the District would receive approximately $675,000 or 75 per cent of the $900,000 it needs for the project, District of Houston communications officer Holly Brown outlined in a memo to council.

The plan, just as it was the first time the District applied for CERIP money last fall, is to use the CCRF money in conjunction with what it hopes is a successful application to yet another federal program, the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP), to redo the south half of 10th Street from Poulton to Butler, including sections of the needed Butler Ave. water main replacement.

The District has yet to hear if that application to ICIP is successful and it has already been told that if it went ahead with the work it had wanted to finance under CERIP there could be risks to carrying out the project.

So replacing the denied CERIP application with one to the CCRF it hopes is successful, the District would still able to undertake its original plan.

But Brown cautioned that one limitation of the CCRF application, if successful, could complicate the District’s vision.

And that is underground works such as the watermain replacement and upgrade on 10th and Butler would be an ineligible cost.

“In the event that the ICIP funding is not approved, the project scope and budget will need to be revisited to allow for the water main to be replaced prior to investing in surface infrastructure,” Brown wrote in her memo.

In essence, doing surface work without addressing underground water main requirements would not be practical.

Brown also laid out for council several financial resources at its disposal which could finance that work, including the District’s water capital reserve its water fund operating surplus and its general surplus fund.

Without know whether its ICIP application is successful, council does not yet have to make a decision on what to do if it is unsuccessful.