South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Crestwood allocates yearly block grant for ADA upgrades at park

Previous project deemed ineligible for CDBG use
Crestwood Park, 99724 Meadowfern Drive.

The Crestwood Board of Alderman voted May 28 to use the city’s allocated Community Development Block Grant funds to make Americans with Disabilities Act improvements at Crestwood Park. 

The CDBG funds are administered annually through the St. Louis County Office of Community Development. 

Previously, the city received $23,400 annually, though beginning this year the funds will be given every two years instead of every year, meaning the city received $46,800 to use for fiscal years 2024 and 2025. 

In 2023, the board decided the 2024 and 2025 funds would be used for the new sidewalk from Spellman Park to Rayburn Avenue. That project was deemed ineligible for CDBG funds however, as it is already receiving federal funds via a Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant. The two grants cannot “commingle.”

Pivoting, staff recommend that the funds be used for ADA improvements at Crestwood Park.

“We’re purposely being vague in the allocation language for ADA accessibility at Crestwood Park. Proposition A was approved, and one of the projects is replacing the playground at Crestwood Park. We anticipate that the playground will include multiple accessible features, and so we didn’t anticipate using these funds to help contribute towards those accessibility improvements as part of the Crestwood Park playground enhancements, but we want to keep the language vague, per the guidance from county CDBG staff, so that we don’t run into any more issues with eligibility,” City Administrator Kris Simpson said. 

City Clerk Helen Ingold added that to be eligible for the funds, an ADA feature has to be replacing an existing feature, not just adding one. 

On top of reallocating the 2024 and 2025 funds, the board was tasked with reallocating the 2023 funds as they were twice found ineligible. In 2022, the board decided to use the 2023 funds on street repairs and improvement. That was later denied, and funds were then redirected last year to purchase ADA picnic tables for both Rayburn and Ferndale Parks. Unfortunately that was also denied, though only partially. The city got the green light to use the funds at Ferndale Park, though the proposed tables at Rayburn Park were deemed ineligible as they would be new and not replacing existing picnic tables. 

The project at Ferndale Park will not, however, require complete use of the funds, leading staff to recommend any unspent funds be directed back to the county for their Home Improvement Program, HIP. 

Ward 3 Alderman Grant Mabie, did not agree with using the funds for HIP as it “is probably the least effective use of these monies…allow(ing) us to help one, two, three, four, five people a year at most, whereas our other bigger projects help hundreds of people,” though the city had limited options as the 2023 funds must be spent by September. 

“That program provides funds for qualified Crestwood homeowners for a variety of home repairs that they can apply for. This is actually what a large number of cities in the county do with their entire allocation,” Simpson said. “We’re defaulting to the Home Improvement Program because that’s the quickest way to allocate the funds and still be able to use them,” Simpson said.

Despite his earlier comment, Mabie made a motion to approve the funds “as laid out in staff memos,” which passed unanimously.