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Rick Miller of the East Central Idaho Planning and Development Company in Rexburg (the Development Company) addressed the January 6 meeting of the Salmon City Council regarding the possibility of securing funds for a Community Center and Theater in Salmon.

Lemhi County Humane Society President Cindy Phelps introduced Miller and explained the Development Company would be implementing and supervising a Community Development Block Grant application for the project if the city will agree to write a letter of support and act as sponsor.

The idea of renovating the upstairs of the Humane Society owned Odd Fellows Hall on Main Street and turning it into a Community Center/Opera House was first proposed by Phelps last October. Since then many steps have been taken towards that goal including conferring with the Development Company.

Miller said he has spoken with many people about the Odd Fellows building project including the Idaho Department of Commerce which is in charge of the HUD funding being sought. Miller said he has learned that the project is eligible and that the state likes the idea however; there are many steps to go through in the competitive grant application process. He said the process has some stringent requirements which are what the Development Company oversees and makes sure are met.

The local Humane Society is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization and Community Development Block grants are only available to municipalities. Miller said that’s where the city comes in.

He said the process will be very much like the sewer system financing and that since the city has been through meeting all requirements so recently, many of the eligibility steps should be current.

With the city’s approval, if the money is awarded the city would act as a pass through sub grantee. No city money would be involved in the sponsorship but there will be some administrative paper work.

In answer to council questions Phelps said the Humane Society has talked with Building Inspector Gary Goodman as to the building’s earthquake stability as well as basic structural integrity and structural engineers have examined it. She said flooring in the Lodge Hall will be reinforced to sustain crowds and the reinforcement work will be included in the cost proposal. Miller added the state will be requiring a valid professional opinion from an inspector or engineer which will be included in the grant application. The deadline for block grant applications is March 4.

The council decided the city needs to have a formal request from the Humane Society which outlines sponsorship duties. Phelps said that will be provided in time for a vote at the January 20 City Council Meeting.

A similar decision was made concerning a request for a letter of support from the Search and Rescue organization. Search and Rescue is submitting a grant application for money to build a parking lot and needs a supporting letter from the city to go with the application. A motion was made and unanimously passed to write the letter of support for the organization contingent on receipt of a formal request.

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