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Grandview residents show support for community center funding

GRANDVIEW - As part of the process in seeking a Community Development Block Grant, the city of Grandview held a public hearing this past Monday night.

Community members were invited to provide public comment after hearing from Shawn Conrad of the Yakima Valley Conference of Governments.

She said Grandview is seeking a general purpose grant to assist in funding a new community center to be located at Grandview's Country Park.

The city, Conrad said, qualifies for the funding because of the low to moderate income levels, poverty and educational background of residents.

"In addition, there has been an increase in gang-related violence and other incidents in recent years," she shared.

Community Development Block Grant eligibility includes projects for public facilities, community facilities, economic development, housing rehabilitation and projects that principally benefit low to moderate income residents.

The maximum award for an application is $1.5 million. Grandview is a non-entitlement community and has a population of less than 50,000. More than 50 percent of the residents in Grandview are considered low to moderate income.

The grant funding, said Conrad, would be used to develop a multi-use community center.

"The proposed community center would serve a variety of age groups, including preteens, teens, adults and seniors," she shared.

The city has also met all public hearing notice requirements, according to Conrad.

Mary Barrett was the first to stand before council, stating she supports the effort to establish a community center as long as the city is confident the center would not cause budget cuts to programs already in place. She also felt the center should be self-sustaining and taxes should not be raised if the city finds the community center is cost prohibitive.

"If we use it as an events center, I believe we can make it fly," she shared, adding partnerships with other organizations would benefit the proposed community center.

American Legionnaire Jim Davidson said his organization has a vested interest in the development of a community center. The American Legion post helped fund the current Carl L. Stevens Senior Center and made recent upgrades to its kitchen.

He said the post supports a community center in Grandview because it would meet the needs of the community.

"This community has been in need of such a facility," said Davidson, stating a community center would provide a central location for family events, as well as community events.

He noted Country Park has several amenities, such as handicap accessibility and adequate parking for programs and events that could take place at a community center.

"I know there are no finalized plans on the facility, but I endorse the proposal," said Davidson.

Also pledging support as a partner in the community was Grandview Schools Superintendent Kevin Chase.

"I believe the state would be wise to invest in the community center," he said.

Speaking for those interested in the arts, Leslie White of the Grandview High School Drama Department spoke up, stating a community center would provide performers a place to stage drama productions. Sarah Schneider of the class of 2011 shared a community center would serve well as a location for events like prom.

Dudley Brown of the Lower Valley Bridge Club, Grandview High School leadership student Karen Ramirez and Grandview United's Melodie Smith all stood to share their support of the proposed community center. The three echoed sentiments shared by the other community members, stating they believe a community center would be vital to the citizens of Grandview.

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