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A Reidsville neighborhood will have freshly paved streets, new water lines and refurbished houses because of a $593,930 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Reidsville will use the grant to refurbish 24 houses on Lytle Street as well as make road and water line improvements.``We're going to be able to upgrade a section of town that really needs it,' Mayor Benton Gooch said. ``We're going to be able to make the quality of life better for the people that live there and make it a really nice-looking area.'

Reidsville City Manger Kelly Almond said contributions from the City Council and Lytle Street landlords showed the city's commitment to the project and helped make the grant application successful.

The City Council approved $100,000 of city funds for the Lytle Street project, while property owners chipped in an additional $54,200 to bring the total funding for the project to $748,130.

The project includes a new 6-inch water line running from East Morehead Street to the end of Lytle Street. Another 6-inch water line along Hester Street will be extended to connect the east end of the line with a water line along East Morehead Street to give the neighborhood better water pressure.

The project will curb, gutter and widen Lytle Street from 75 feet south of Hester Street all the way to the end of Lytle Street.

Traffic problems on steeply-sloping Hester Street will be eased by a new road connecting East Morehead Street to give residents an extra way out, especially in bad weather.

Administrative work on the Lytle Street project will begin in October with work on houses starting as soon as January, according to Gary Wilson, president of Benchmark, Inc., a Kannapolis-based planning and community development firm administering the project for Reidsville.

Wilson said work on the street and water lines will begin in June.

The Lytle Street project will be the second grant project for Benchmark in Reidsville. The company officially completed a similar rehabilitation project in the Racetrack community in July.

Wilson said Benchmark completed the Racetrack project, which was started by another firm. He said the project rehabilitated 10 houses and had another seven houses either brought up to code by the owners or demolished.Wilson said the project also included water line improvements and street paving.

While Reidsville was one of 52 North Carolina communities to receive a grant, Madison's application did not receive a grant.

Madison applied for a $600,000 grant to rehabilitate 26 low income homes in the northwestern part of town, but was ranked 78th out of the 110 applicants, according to Sharon Goodson, a public information officer for the N.C. Department of Economic and Community Development.

For Madison officials the bad news was familiar: The city has been denied a Community Development Block Grant each of the nine times it has applied since 1975.

``I'm very disappointed,' said Mayor J.P. Carter. ``I thought for sure we'd get one. Now it looks like we'll never get one. We seem to be unlucky about it.'

Carter said city officials were told past applications were not accepted because Madison had too high a per capita income, but such a standard is no longer a criterion.

Wilson, who helped Madison write its proposal, said Madison may have suffered from proposing too large of an area for rehabilitation.

``In Madison we tried to address a neighborhood, but that area may have had only about 60 percent of the housing with severe needs while Reidsville had about 80 percent with severe needs,' Wilson said.

Wilson said Benchmark plans to rewrite the proposal and submit it again next year if the Madison Town Council approves such a decision.

Carter said the Town Council may decide to make the water line improvements listed in the grant proposal, but doubted the street paving or rehabilitation of homes would be done.

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