Policy requires neighborhood groups to make progress on spending NRP dollars

Neighborhood groups would be required to present a game plan for spending Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) dollars that have long been in their coffers under a new policy approved by a City Council committee.

As part of the 20-year NPR program, roughly $215 million in TIF funding was directed at neighborhood organizations for investments in housing, public safety and other community projects. The program has since expired and now a much smaller amount of funding is available for neighborhoods through the city’s Community Participation Program.

Under the policy approved by the Council’s Health, Energy & Community Engagement Committee on Monday, neighborhood groups that haven’t spent at least 85 percent and contracted 95 percent of their NRP dollars within seven years of receiving funding will be required to submit a plan to the city outlining how they will spend the money within one year or undergo a new community engagement process to revise funding strategies.

Neighborhood groups also have the option for requesting a waiver from the city to be exempted from the policy.

The full Council will vote on the policy Nov. 20.

Of the city’s 70 neighborhood organizations, 39 groups would be impacted because they haven’t spent enough NRP dollars and had plans approved more than seven years ago, according to a report presented to the Council by Robert Thompson, the city’s neighborhood support manager.

Neighborhood groups that fail to follow the policy could lose some or all of their NRP funds, which could be redistributed to other neighborhoods by the NRP Policy Board and City Council.

City Council Member Andrew Johnson (Ward 12) spoke in support of the proposed policy.

“The goal is to really take the money and put it to use in the community — do as much good as you can with it,” he said.