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Wednesday, Jun 20, 2018
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Pasco loses out on federal grant

LACOOCHEE — Pasco County failed to make the final cut for this year’s competitive federal Choice Neighborhood Grant.

The county and Pasco County Housing Authority had sought $15 million to rebuild two public housing projects in Lacoochee and renovate the remaining units.

“While this may be a temporary obstacle for us to overcome, please know that Pasco County and the Pasco County Housing Authority are very much committed to improving the lives of the residents in the Lacoochee/Trilby/Trilacoochee communities,” community development specialist Michelle Miller wrote in a letter to residents.

The Choice Neighborhoods program, administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, is the successor of the Hope VI program, which poured millions of dollars into housing agencies to replace crumbling housing projects.

Community Development Director George Romagnoli said officials haven’t ruled out applying again next year. Pasco received a $300,000 Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant in 2013, which put the county in a position to apply for the larger grant.

“Right now, we’re focused on completing the planning grant,” he said. “We think getting that done will help us with the implementation grant. It’s supposed to be a two-year grant, but HUD extended us for a third year.”

The Tampa Housing Authority also lost its bid this year for a $30 million Choice Neighborhood grant.

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