The Columbus City Council on Tuesday night voted to apply for a $238,000 grant from the Georgia Statewide Afterschool Network (GSAN) to help keep Columbus youth off the street and out of trouble. However, the grant’s website clearly states that new applications will no longer be accepted, leaving confusion for residents familiar with the grant and its application process.
Funding from the GSAN’s “BOOST” grant, a part of the American Rescue Plan, would have been used to help keep Columbus youth off the streets. Unfortunately, the council appears to have missed the application window before it voted to apply for it.
As visible in an article by WTVM, the city appears fairly proud of their move to apply for the funding, using it as an opportunity to improve their image in the wake of rising crime in the fountain city.
While the $238,000 grant may seem large, it pales in comparison to amounts the council approves on a regular basis for things it deems of greater value than keeping Columbus youth off the streets and out of trouble.
During the very same meeting on Tuesday night, the council also approved the city’s purchase of a $2.5 million property to be paid for with OLOST Public Safety reserves; a ten-fold amount to secure property over the value of the grant. The property will also require $13 million in renovations paid for by Columbus Building Authority bonds.
The council’s apparent oversight of the grant’s application window also comes on the heels of the city’s closure of the Boxwood Recreation Center on Enoch Drive due to staffing shortages. The center had provided a reprieve for many children in Columbus by providing game rooms, playgrounds, and educational tutorial services. Columbus youth had those offerings taken away from them when the City closed the center indefinitely last week.
Columbus residents can voice their opinions about the council’s efforts to keep youth off the street and out of trouble by reaching out to their city council members through the city’s website here.