After decades of not qualifying for federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, North Riverside officials have learned that the village has met basic requirements for obtaining the grant money since 2000.

As a result, North Riverside last month submitted its first CDBG application to Cook County, requesting $175,000 for street improvements to be completed in 2007.

“Back in the 1980s and ’90s we checked and we were never eligible,” said Village Administrator Guy Belmonte. “We [recently] checked again and found we did have three areas that qualify.”

Those areas include all of the village west of 9th Avenue, that portion of the village between Cermak Road and 31st Street that is west of Desplaines Avenue but east of the Des Plaines River and the area bordered by 25th Street, 26th Street, Desplaines Avenue and Westover Avenue.

According to Belmonte, if the village is successful in gaining CDBG money over the next four years improvements can be made to all of the streets within those areas.

Street resurfacing in North Riverside is an annual event, typically occurring in August or September, in spots throughout the village. The village funds the annual projects using motor fuel tax money amounting to its annual intake of $175,000. By tapping into the CDBG grant program, the village could possibly double the pace of its street improvement program.

But since Cook County won’t notify municipalities of grant awards until October, any grant money gained by the village would be used toward street resurfacing in 2007, Belmonte said.

According to the grant application submitted by North Riverside, the village would concentrate street resurfacing in 2007 on the area of the village south of 26th Street and west of Desplaines Avenue. Three blocks in the westernmost portion of the village are also included in the plan.

Specifically, the blocks included in the application are River Road south of 30th Street, Groveland Avenue from 29th Street to 31st Street, Lincoln Avenue north of 29th Court to 31st Street, 29th Court from Lincoln Avenue to Desplaines Avenue, 30th Street from River Road to Desplaines Avenue, Edgewater Road from Groveland Avenue to Desplaines Avenue, 19th Avenue and 18th Avenue from Cermak Road to 23rd Street, and 23rd Street from 19th Avenue to 17th Avenue.

The scope of the work proposed for the project includes removal and replacement of the asphalt street, curb and gutter replacement, sidewalk and driveway replacement and parkway landscape restoration.

“If we get the $175,000 that’s great; if we get less, we’ll do less,” Belmonte said.

Fair housing law

In conjunction with submitting the CDBG application with Cook County, the North Riverside village board at its regular meeting on Feb. 20 passed a fair housing ordinance for the village, along with a fair housing action plan.

Although fair housing ordinances in Cook County have been around since the late 1960s?”Oak Park passed the first such ordinance in 1968?”fewer than 40 percent of suburban Chicago municipalities have adopted such laws, according to a January 2005 study performed by the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities.

Other west suburban communities with fair housing ordinances on the books include LaGrange, Lyons, McCook and Cicero.