Saturday, July 17, 2004

U.S. says city owes it $3.95M

Renovation grants provision cited

By Kevin Aldridge
Enquirer staff writer

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has asked Cincinnati to repay $3.95 million in grants used to renovate Huntington Meadows in Bond Hill.

Mayor Charlie Luken is appealing to congressmen to step in.

Federal officials said the city violated an agreement that required it to maintain Huntington Meadows as low-income housing for at least five years after renovations.

Huntington Meadows went bankrupt in 2002, four years after renovations. More than 200 families were evicted.

In February, Cincinnati City Council agreed to spend more than $13 million to help two Bond Hill churches redevelop the site into market-rate housing.

HUD officials called the city's efforts to keep Huntington Meadows open "inadequate" and demanded repayment.

Lana Vacha, HUD director of community planning and development, told the city in a July 9 letter there were three remedies:

•  Repay the $3.95 million.

•  Agree to an annual grant reduction of more than $1 million over three years.

The city receives about $8 million a year from HUD to benefit low-income residents.

•  Substitute the 264 units lost at Huntington Meadows with 264 low-income units elsewhere that don't receive federal funds.

Luken said HUD's decision could have serious implications for the city's general fund budget, which is facing a deficit of $10 million next year.

He sent letters Thursday to Reps. Steve Chabot and Rob Portman and Sens. Mike DeWine and George Voinovich asking them to help overturn HUD's decision.

"The city repeatedly demonstrated its best efforts to keep the project viable in the absence of implementing regulation and/or guidance," Luken wrote. "While I appreciate HUD's responsibility to ensure that federal funds are expended in a manner consistent with program rules and regulations, the foreclosure on the Huntington Meadows property was beyond the city's control."


2 charged in cross burning
Cholesterol guidelines called tainted
Laughter, loyalty, love link club
Cast your vote, get a flu shot
Chemo wafers used to treat brain tumor directly

Round 1: Fox cleared by county election board
U.S. says city owes it $3.95M
Jim Beam sues city for road project
Local news briefs
Milford schools to capitalize on development project
Mom whose teen killed tot to stay in jail 5 more months
Neighborhood briefs
Incumbents hold fund-raising lead
Young offenders learn how crime affects victims
'Flunking' teachers sue testing firm over errors
Seven Hills mayor delivers good news himself - door-to-door
Ban sought in highway shootings case
Sgt. Chips to Mr. Chips: Soldiers sought to teach
Cutting in line is OK, and parks tell you how
Mason judge wants review
Polk Run Creek still a problem for area residents
Public safety briefs
She's guilty of $561K theft

Pianist awarded NAACP medal
Prayer vigil a tradition at St. Ann's

Jacqueline Brown, teacher
Cindy Schmuelling Bake-Off finalist

He killed bear, now defends self
Louisville Democrats in a snit over Kerry, bin Laden bumper sticker link
Office seekers muddle finances
Murder suspect arrested in N.C.
Cold Spring to add homes
Kentucky fails to see joke
Kentucky news briefs
Bones unearthed at building site
Workplace Spanish class reflects Hispanic influx
Outages leave many bracing for warm weekend