Betterton eyes Ericsson as next streetscape project

Having wrapped improvements to Wheeler Avenue last year, Betterton officials are now in the planning stages for a streetscape project on Ericsson Avenue.

BETTERTON — The Town of Betterton has been awarded a Community Development Block Grant as the first step in what would be an extensive upgrade of Ericsson Avenue, one of the town’s primary thoroughfares.

The $50,000 grant will be used for a preliminary engineering evaluation/feasibility study as well as preparation and completion of an environmental report.

The town aims to improve Ericsson Avenue — from Howell Point Road to Idlewhile Avenue, about 2,500 linear feet — in much the same manner as the recently reconstructed Wheeler Avenue.

Wheeler Avenue, which was narrowed and turned into a one-way street as part of the work, ends at Ericsson Avenue.

Town Manager Tom Mogle said the new project would include repaving, improving the storm drainage, reconstructing/replacing sidewalks, and replacing water and sewer lines.

Betterton’s grant was announced in a news release from Gov. Larry Hogan’s office that listed nearly $17 million in awards for four state revitalization programs and one federal community development program administered by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.

The Strategic Demolition Fund, Project C.O.R.E. (Creating Opportunities for Renewal and Enterprise), the National Capital Strategic Economic Development Fund and the Seed Community Development Anchor Institution Fund will provide $10 million to 30 projects in five counties and Baltimore City that support community development and economic growth across the state.

DHCD will administer nearly $7 million through the federal Community Development Block Grant program in 10 counties.

Betterton was the only Kent County municipality to receive grant money.

Caroline County received $800,000 in CDBG funding to be used toward construction of a 7,200-square foot Judy Center on the grounds of Greensboro Elementary School, while Talbot County also received $800,000 for renovation of a building to be used as a Family Support and Early Head Start center. The aim is to provide services for low- and moderate-income children and their parents.

On the lower Shore, Wicomico County was awarded $440,000 in CDBG funding to continue downpayment and closing costs assistance programs for low- and moderate-income homebuyers run by the Salisbury Neighborhood Services.

The Strategic Demolition Fund is a statewide program aimed at generating activities that accelerate economic development and job production. The fund awarded $1.5 million to four projects, including predevelopment work at the Cambridge Waterfront in Dorchester County.

Project C.O.R.E. is an initiative to eliminate blight in Baltimore City and make way for green space, affordable and mixed-use housing, and new opportunities for businesses. A total of $1.5 million was awarded to four projects, including predevelopment activities to redevelop vacant lots and vacant homes for homeownership opportunities in the Druid Heights community, the West North Avenue Corridor and the Johnston Square community.

The National Capital Strategic Economic Development Fund, designed to support redevelopment in communities in and around the Capital beltway, awarded $4 million to 16 projects. They include rehabilitation of the historic Flower Theater Façade in Montgomery County and supporting the renovation of a 1960s dilapidated cafeteria space and entrepreneurship training in Prince George’s County.

The Seed Community Development Anchor Institution Fund provides grants and loans to higher education institutions and hospitals for community development projects in blighted areas of the state. The Seed fund awarded $3 million to six projects including revitalization of the Allegany College of Maryland Theater and supporting the acquisition of a warehouse for the Baltimore Natural Dye Maryland Institute College of Art partnership project.

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