The Community Development Block Grant has been one of the most effective vehicles for creating jobs under the Recovery Act (or stimulus), according to an analysis by the Brookings Institution and posted at The Avenue. The review indicates that “some 820 CDBG grants traceable in the [Recovery.gov] database are delivering a job for every $7,000 of federal outlay while for the rest of ARRA’s programs jobs are resulting at the rate of one for every $56,000 spent.”
This news comes shortly after we learned that the administration essentially barred any money from going to park rehabilitation and renovation, despite a long-standing such use of annual CDBG allotments. According to the Vice President’s Recovery Act Year End Report, approximately 116 submitted projects were redirected, including the following:
- 48 submitted proposals to renovate, rehabilitate, or upgrade parks;
- 52 submitted proposals to renovate, rehabilitate, or upgrade recreation centers, playgrounds, athletic fields, or other similar facilities;
- 12 submitted proposals for funding to support youth–centered recreational activities; and
- Four submitted proposals for funding to build or upgrade skate parks.
According to the report, funds were re-directed to “infrastructure” projects, housing assistance, job training centers, and street improvements. These may also be worthy investments, but what seems evident is that the projects cut out were directly related to people doing work, and job creation. (They certainly did so in the 1930s WPA.) Most people would probably say that parks are “green,” especially if money is spent on rehabilitating them — something the stimulus bill was meant to foster.