Due to the poor condition of streets and bridges in the city of Ord (pop. 2,481), the Ord City Council initiated a multi-phase plan in 2001 to improve the city’s infrastructure. City officials applied for and received a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) in 2001 to replace five deteriorating bridges with concrete box culverts east of the city. The neighborhood in which the bridges were located qualified for funding because 73 percent of the area’s property owners were low- and middle-income wage earners. By 2002, brand new concrete box culverts replaced old rickety bridges.
The Ord City Council then proceeded to the plan’s next phase in 2002, which was to evaluate current conditions of the city’s streets, then identify and prioritize those streets needing improvements. They identified 19 blocks of gravel and deteriorating asphalt streets that needed paving. All 19 blocks were narrow with no curbing or gutters, and poor drainage. The cost of maintaining asphalt streets had increased dramatically and bids for repairing them were cost prohibitive. The city council hesitated to pave the blocks because the low- and middle-income property owners who lived there would be assessed for the work. Since the blocks were scattered throughout the city, a low-to-middle-income target area could not be identified. The city council mailed income surveys to those property owners who would be assessed for the paving costs, and filed an application for CDBG funding to pay the special assessments of the LMI homeowners and occupants. Because survey results determined that 100 percent of homeowners benefiting from the project were low-to-middle-income wage earners, the city was awarded $216,500 CDBG funds in 2002.
Street construction was completed in 2003. In fall 2003, property owners filed applications requesting subsidies to help pay for the street assessments. A total of 138 property owners were assessed for the paving improvements and of those, 60 were eligible for full subsidies to cover the assessment fees.
The Ord City Council continues with its plan to improve city streets, and has identified an additional 15 blocks to be paved in 2005.