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County wants to focus on fixing blighted properties through grant process

Nye County Manager Pam Webster wants to focus on Pahrump’s blighted properties in a Community Development Block Grant application process.

Webster said this year’s application process has a “very strong thrust” in economic development.

“My application is for all the properties that have been abandoned in Pahrump and to rehabilitate those,” she said. “Many of them are from people who collected things, maybe were hoarders, and then abandoned the property.”

The block grant program is administered nationally by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and in Nevada by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development annually makes approximately $2 million available for grants for community facilities, planning and capacity building, economic development, micro-enterprise programs, and housing rehabilitation. These grants are available on a competitive basis to Nevada’s 26 non-entitlement cities and counties with a population of less than 200,000 people.

Using the grant would eliminate the need to use eminent domain, the right of a government to expropriate private property for public use, with payment of compensation.

The first step of the process is the executive summary, which breaks down the project into key points. Webster said she wants to come up with a blighted land rehabilitation executive summary.

“We’ve struggled and struggled here with nuisances both public and private and trying to be able to rehabilitate some of those properties. We’ve got applications for a new code compliance officer and I think we are making the right steps. This has my heart, and I really would like to move forward with this concept as an executive summary that I will bring you back shortly,” she told Nye County commissioners.

“One of the strong areas that they’ve used as criteria for measurement of successful projects are communities that are LMI (low-to-moderate-income) qualified, and as you know, Pahrump is not,” she said.

Pahrump has only pockets of low-to-moderate-income sprinkled throughout the community.

“So, what I think we would be able to do with this kind of project is to identify if there’s a neighborhood of blighted properties, clearly, that would fall into LMI classification,” Webster said. “We could hopefully benefit off that as well. Where as the community, we could have a neighborhood that might further enhance that kind of thing.”

The CDBG program would help to take properties off the tax roll, rehabilitate them, put them back on the market in an improved state and use income from that as seed money to keep this perpetuating and going forward and huge economic development benefit, Webster said.

The upgrades that Nye County has had done through the program date back to 1982. Last year, Nye County received $322,373 for the county complex well upgrade and $30,000 for a senior nutrition van purchase.

Nye County officials are currently accepting applications for projects. Members of the community can also submit their ideas for consideration.

To submit a project idea or to obtain an application, contact Savannah Rucker at 775-751-6391 or srrucker@co.nye.nv.us.

Nye County commissioners will hold a presentation on potential projects on Nov. 1.

Contact reporter Daria Sokolova at dsokolova@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @dariasokolova77

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