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City waits on FEMA before allocating recovery funds

Date: 4/4/2013

By Katelyn Gendron

SPRINGFIELD — City officials are still waiting on figures from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) before allocating the $21 million Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) disaster recovery grant it received last week, according to Jim Leydon, Mayor Domenic Sarno's communications director.

Sarno formally announced the receipt of the $21 million for the purposes of rebuilding from the June 1, 2011 tornado on March 27. The funding is part of HUD's $514 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which is being disbursed throughout nine states impacted by natural disasters between 2011 and 2013. CDBG-Disaster Recovery funding was made available on Jan. 29 with President Barack Obama's signing of the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013.

"The dollar amounts are still up in the air. We were hoping for them a couple of weeks ago but we've been hearing [we'll get them] for a couple of weeks," Leydon said of the city's ongoing communications with FEMA.

The Block Grant funding will be incorporated into a larger effort for infrastructure and capital improvements, including rebuilding structures lost during the tornado, Leydon explained.

"Within the last two years the residents and businesses of the City of Springfield have been through a lot. Since June 1, 2011 a lot of hard work has gone into our recovery and today marks a significant piece of funding for our long-term recovery efforts," Sarno said.

HUD will announce additional funding for communities throughout the country later in the year.