Gilbert approves plan for use of federal grant money

Gilbert Municipal Building I
Gilbert Town Council heard public comment on the proposed SanTan Adventure Park and a possible eminent domain action along the Western Canal. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

Gilbert Town Council heard public comment on the proposed SanTan Adventure Park and a possible eminent domain action along the Western Canal. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

Gilbert Town Council approved submission of the town’s annual action plan for its Community Development Block Grant money to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The submission, which passed on a 5-2 vote with council members Aimee Yentes and Laurin Hendrix dissenting, serves as a formal application to use the funds received by the town.

Gilbert is getting $980,824 for fiscal year 2021-22, an increase of $15,379 from this year. CDBG monies are meant for states, cities and counties to develop viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment and by expanding economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income people.

The plan also covers the town’s HOME funds, another federal grant for local governments to create affordable housing for low-income households. Gilbert will receive $280,368 for next fiscal year, an increase of $5,718.

Yentes said her opposition was philosophical to the federal spending involved with the program, though she said that spending represented only a small part of the overall problem.


Other items

  • In public comment, residents near the proposed SanTan Adventure Park voiced their opposition to the project, which proposes to have miniature golf and go-kart racing at a facility built at Crossroads Park. The planning commission approved the project on a 5-2 vote April 7, but council will hear an appeal in the next 60 days. The residents objected primarily to potential noise from the site but also expressed traffic and parking concerns.

  • Landowners along the Western Canal near Freestone Park also spoke in keeping up their objection to an infrastructure repair project on sewer and other lines. The town had been moving toward claiming parts of the residents’ back yards in an eminent domain action to repair and maintain the lines in the future. Town Manager Patrick Banger told the residents after the meeting that only appraisal work is being done currently to determine land acquisition costs and that staff instead is reconsidering its options and exploring new solutions.

By Tom Blodgett

Editor, Gilbert

Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent more than 30 years in journalism in Arizona and joined Community Impact Newspaper in July 2018 to launch the Gilbert edition. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he served as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication from 2005-19 and remains editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.