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Daytona Beach is one of 14 communities nationwide to be awarded a $500,000 federal Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The City partnered with the Housing Authority to apply for the highly competitive grant specifically for the Palmetto Park, Caroline Village and Walnut Oak properties and the surrounding Midtown neighborhood. The grant will fund the creation of a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization plan, called a Transformation Plan, to redevelop severely distressed public housing properties, improve outcomes for residents and bring new amenities to high-poverty neighborhoods. “One of the goals of Daytona Beach’s Housing Authority is to create communities that add value to the larger community. We have a chance to transform Caroline Village, Palmetto Park, and Walnut Oak into community assets that all our citizens can be proud of and better serve our low-income residents,” said the Housing Authority’s Chief Executive Officer Charles Woodyard.
The City and the Housing Authority each committed $250,000 for local leverage in securing the federal funding. Additionally, the Housing Authority committed more than $333,300 and the City contributed $75,000 for in-kind services. These in-kind services are mostly for staffing, supplies, meeting space, etc. The next steps include finalizing the grant budget, conducting regular meetings with the HUD point of contact, beginning the process for resident involvement and forming subcommittees that will do the hard work of creating the master plan. Creating the plan is a two-year process. After the planning process is complete, the city and the Housing Authority intend to pursue a $50 million Choice Neighborhood Implementation Grant to bring the master plan into redevelopment reality.
This year's grant recipients were selected from a pool of 28 applications. Gainesville and Orlando were the other cities in Florida to be awarded grants. “The strategic partnership between the City and the Housing Authority marks a significant step toward repositioning the Midtown neighborhood to attract investment, increase economic diversity and expand affordable housing for Midtown residents. This project aligns with the City Commission’s priority to create and improve affordable housing for our residents,” said Daytona Beach’s City Manager Deric C. Feacher.
The joint application earned 88 out of a maximum of 104 points and was scored on multiple factors including need, soundness of approach and leverage for planning. The two-year plan includes opportunities to engage residents and community stakeholders in creating a vision for Midtown.
Choice Neighborhood grants are focused on three core goals: