The bill establishes the community revitalization grant program (grant program) in the division of creative industries (division) in the office of economic development (office). The grant program is established to provide money awards to finance various projects across the state that are intended to create or revitalize mixed-use commercial centers. The grant program is intended to support creative projects in these commercial centers that would combine revitalized or newly constructed commercial spaces with public or community spaces including but not limited to certain projects specified in the bill. In allocating grant money under the grant program, preference will be given to certain projects based on prioritization factors enumerated in the bill. All grants awarded under this section must be encumbered no later than December 31, 2022.
The division will administer the grant program in consultation with the division of local government (DLG) in the department of local affairs. The division may contract out part of its administrative duties under the grant program to a third-party administrative entity.
In connection with the administration of the grant program, the division and DLG are required to collaborate in creating a process that ensures that grants are only considered and awarded after a fair and rigorous open competition among eligible grant recipients. The division and DLG are also required to collaborate on the review of grant applications and the approval of grant awards. In connection with the review of grant applications and awards, the division must solicit input from a stakeholder group that includes representation from various groups and entities as specified in the bill.
On or before September 1, 2021, the director of the division, in consultation with the director of the DLG or their designees, are required to adopt polices, procedures, and guidelines for the grant program that include without limitation:
- Procedures and timelines by which an eligible recipient may apply for a grant;
- Criteria for determining grant eligibility and grant amounts; and
- Reporting requirements for grant recipients.
The bill specifies the types of projects meriting preference in the awarding of grants.
The bill creates the community revitalization fund (fund) in the state treasury. On the effective date of the bill, or as soon as practicable thereafter, the state treasurer is required to transfer $65 million from the general fund to the fund. All money transferred is to be used for either grant awards or the costs of administering the grant program.
On or before November 1, 2022, and on or before November 1, 2023, the division is required to publish a report summarizing the use of all of the money that was awarded as grants under the grant program in the preceding fiscal year. The bill specifies additional required components of the report. The report must be posted on the website of the office. The bill requires the office to summarize the information contained in the report in its "State Measurement for Accountable, Responsive, and Transparent (SMART) Government Act" hearings.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)