The city of East Wenatchee is dropping out of the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. 

The Program provides annual grants on a formula basis to states, cities, and counties. It’s provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and can be used on housing or infrastructure projects. 

East Wenatchee Community Development Director Curtis Lillquist says the benefits of the program are outweighed by the time and money required for paperwork. 

"The cost to benefit just isn't there," said Lillquist. "The amount of staff time that we have to go through in order to supply the annual plans, the annual reporting, the consolidated plan every four years, the additional documentation." 

Lilliquist also says the program's funding level is so low that it must build up over years to finance a project. 

The Hamilton Street Improvement Project, for example, required three years of block grant funds and three years of leftover grant funds to complete.  

The amount of entitlement funds received annually by the city peaked in 2021 and has been slowly declining each year since, totaling $108,500 in 2023. 

The Hamilton Street Project, which brought curb, gutter, sidewalk and parking upgrades totaled more than $390,000. 

East Wenatchee has severed ties to the Community Development Block Grant program by opting out of designation as an Entitlement Community.  

Lillquist says doing so opened the door for the city to apply for the same money through the state. 

"A community that's not an entitlement community is allowed to compete for that money," Lilliquist said. "So, we can, coming out of the entitlement program, we are then eligible to compete for that state level money." 

Lilliquist says funding through the state, although competitive, will provide larger grant funding. He said the Hamilton Street Project could have been financed through a single grant at the state level. 

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