City aids bid for Grand grant

By GAYLE COULTER State Journal Staff Writer Published:

Mayor Bill May cast a tie-breaking vote in favor of the city signing a memorandum of agreement with Save the Grand Theatre, Inc. to allow the group to apply for a grant of up to $1 million at Monday night's City Commission meeting.

The commission also approved writing a grant application on behalf of Save the Grand to the Kentucky Housing Corporation for a Renaissance Kentucky grant of $250,000 that would be used to purchase the Grand Theatre building at Main and St. Clair.

City Commissioners Andrew Layson and Tracey Turner Thurman voted against signing the memorandum because they said there were unresolved issues.

Thurman said she was uncomfortable because the memorandum seemed to imply that the county would have to pass the 2 percent transient room tax increase proposal that Franklin County Fiscal Court has discussed but not yet taken action on.

"I feel uncomfortable putting forth a grant application without knowing where matching funds would come from," Thurman said. "And, I don't think it's fair to put Fiscal Court in a box on this."

Layson said he believes Save The Grand, Inc. could move forward with its plans for applying for the Community Development block grant without the city signing an official memorandum of agreement.

"I think it's putting the cart before the horse if you do not have your source of matching funds," Layson said. "The horse is the 2 percent transient room tax increase, and this grant cannot move forward without it."

Layson also questioned whether the city should apply for more than one CDBG grant because it was already committed to seeking funds from CDBG for the Holmes Street revitalization project and he was concerned that the Grand project could be funded instead of the Holmes Street project.

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