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Sedgwick County commissioners have agreed to apply for a federal grant that would be used to rehabilitate some homes in the Oaklawn neighborhood, which was the hardest-hit area in the April 14 tornado.
The grant of $400,000 is from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It would be provided through the Kansas Department of Commerce.
Dorsha Kirksey with the county's housing department said the grant would provide up to $20,000 per home, and that would help 18 homes in Oaklawn.
Commission Chairman Tim Norton wants to spread the grant to more homes. Kirksey said the county would have the flexibility to do that. The commission will have to approve the individual projects if the county receives the grant.
The grant was a late addition to the commission agenda, and Commissioner Jim Skelton was unhappy that there was little time for more information and discussion. Kirksey said staff began the process of putting an application together after the April tornado. Assistant County Manager Ron Holt assured commissioners that in the future there would be briefings for county commissioners as the process moves along.
Commissioner Dave Unruh said the HUD grant is not a new program, and it's an opportunity to help a blighted area.
Commissioners voted 4-1 to approve the grant. Commissioner Richard Ranzau voted no, voicing concerns about the amount of money per home that could be provided, considering that some of the homes in Oaklawn may not be worth much more than $30,000.