AUBURN, Ala. (WSFA) - Auburn residents met with city officials Wednesday to express how they’d like to see federal grant funds spent over the next couple of years, as a part of planning for the 2020-2024 Community Development Block Grant program.
“Auburn is an entitlement community for CDBG. The CDBG funds are for primarily housing, public services, special economic development activities, and public improvement,” said City of Auburn Community Development Administrator Todd White.
“It’s a good opportunity for us to explain the process to the community and give them details of how this whole consolidated planning process will work and hear some of their initial concerns,” said City of Auburn Director of Community Services Alfred Davis Sr. “It’s always good to hear from your community and engage them early on. We could hear from them before anything is finalized later on.”
One area of concern expressed was affordable housing, which both residents and local officials say they want to expand.
“Northwest Auburn is rapidly, rapidly being depleted. Student housing market has moved in so rapidly upon people that don’t have the real true knowledge of what their properties are worth,” said Auburn resident Lindburg Jackson. “I would like to see a partnership established between the city of Auburn and the community here to do some things innovative, creatively, to reinvest in the minority community.”
“You will only find housing where they rent per bed. The biggest concern right now in Northwest auburn is housing affordability,” said Auburn resident Pamela Pitts.
Pitts says that although housing is a big issue in the Northwest Auburn community, it isn’t the only issue. She says more options for the youth should also be available.
“We would like to see a library here in the community of Northwest Auburn,” Pitts said.
City officials say affordable housing and ways to engage the youth are both high on their priority list.
Councilwoman Connie Fitch-Taylor announced a meeting to form a Northwestern Auburn task force scheduled for June 10 at 6 p.m. at the Boykin Community Center Auditorium.
The next public community development meeting will be August 28 at 6 p.m. in the Boykin Community Center Auditorium.