If Bedford successfully obtains a state grant for which it is a finalist, the city will be awarded about $18 million to be used for community development projects.
The Stellar Communities program provides money for small communities to fund community development projects. Bedford is one of six finalists, two of which will be chosen to receive the grant.
If it receives the money, Bedford would use the money for housing, transportation, and community investment projects.
More specifically, it includes plans for new trails and relocating a historic train depot to the courthouse square.
Ed Curtin owns CWC Latitudes, the development company that has been working with the city to create the plan. He says the grant would provide a boost to Bedford’s business climate.
“It really will make a huge difference for the community. There are a number of projects that they want to move forward on, and ultimately, I think they’d be able to leverage that for growing jobs and economic investment in Bedford,” Curtin says.
But 5th Street Chill and Grill owner Sharon Barrett says she’s opposed to the plan. Barrett says she and other community members are concerned some parts of the project, such as moving the Milwaukee Road Depot, are a waste of funds.
“I believe the Stellar Grant could be used for better projects to improve the economic growth of the town,” Barrett says.
Representatives from the state will visit the finalist cities to decide on winners in May. Curtin says winners should be announced in early June.