The newly established West Point Forward Fund now has its policies and procedures, nearly eight months after the fund’s approval by the West Point City Council .
Mayor Drew Ferguson IV had proposed creating such a fund shortly after the $6 million in proceeds from a bond deal with Kia Motors was signed, allowing for economic development projects to be funded in the city in perpetuity, since the city doesn’t have the support of a private group like the Callaway Foundation in LaGrange. The bond is established through a 16 year payment in lieu of a tax agreement between West Point and Kia.
At the city council’s work session Thursday morning, City Planner Chris Cole reviewed some of the general policies and procedures of the fund, specifically designed to focus on the 10th Street Area Redevelopment Plan.
The program provides financial investments in the form of loans, grants and any other forms authorized by the mayor and council to finance activities that will assist in promoting the economic security and creation and retention of economic opportunities in West Point.
Eligible applicants and recipients of the loan and/or grant funds include, but are not limited to the city of West Point, West point Development Authority, Downtown West Point Development Authority, West Point Housing Authority or other local government authorities or multi-county development authorities that are proposing projects within the city of West Point.
The award limit is set at a minimum of $50,000 per project, but may be waived by the mayor and council.
Funding would be disbursed based on the loan agreement and loan disbursement schedule. Payments would be made by the borrower based on the loan amortization schedule.
Applications will be accepted by the city of West Point Community Development Department and the city manager would make a recommendation to the the council based on the application.
In other news, City Manager Ed Moon announced that renovations to the city hall are scheduled to begin April 15.
Plans at city hall include rotating the council’s seating platform from the south to the east side of the room, to give council members easier access to chambers. A projector for presentations will be added so presentations may be easily shown on the north wall, which is now the very back of the room. Plans also call for new window blinds, carpet and, eventually, a metal detector.
Council chambers is also used as the municipal court room. Those who enter the room now are screened by a police officer.
Renovations are expected to be completed by May 10.
Moon also mentioned that council would need to vote on a resolution to close 11th street from Avenue D to Avenue C to proceed with phase 2 of the West Point Park renovations. The plan entails building sidewalks and pathways, parking lots, a pavilion, picnic tables and several other landscaping projects at the park at Avenue C and East 11th Street.
The street would be permanently closed from Avenue D to Avenue C.