Maricopa grant going toward flood analysis, not food bank

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MARICOPA, AZ (AP) -

The Maricopa City Council has decided to put a $265,000 grant toward a flood-plain analysis instead of the city's food bank, which has been moving from one temporary location to another after being displaced.

Councilmembers considered four options at their Tuesday meeting, The Casa Grande Dispatch reported (http://bit.ly/2sFZFXf). The officials narrowed the choice down to two options and chose to put the grant toward the analysis rather than the Maricopa Food Bank.

The federally-funded Community Development Block Grant will be dispersed throughout the next two years. A requirement for the money is that it goes toward a project benefiting low- or middle-income residents.

The analysis will determine the level of flooding risk for each property in the Heritage District. It will then suggest strategies on how to move high-risk properties out of the flood zone.

Some residents and officials believe the money should have gone toward the food bank, which was displaced due to overpass construction. The runner-up proposal would've used the grant to buy property and build a permanent location for the food bank.

"I find it frustrating a little bit that it's so hard for this organization, that only wants to do good for the community, has such a struggle finding a place to land," said Terri Crain, executive director of the Maricopa Chamber of Commerce.

Although councilmembers acknowledged the immense benefit the food bank has in the community, they said the analysis would be a better option due to the potential destruction that could occur in flood zone areas.

"The whole community comes together for the food bank, and I believe the food bank will be fine," council member Vincent Manfredi said. "However, the Heritage District will not be funded any other way."

The analysis project will be submitted to the Arizona Department of Housing for review before becoming official.

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