Thursday, July 19, 2018
News Roundup

Dade City approves grant for historic funeral home building

DADE CITY — The owners of the historic Hodges Family Funeral Home building have received grant funding from Dade City to fix a front window system they say is in serious need of repair.

Grant funding for the building, at 14046 Fifth St., will come from the city's Community Redevelopment Agency, which for years has been allocating money to businesses within the community redevelopment district to improve their facades.

During their meeting Tuesday night, Dade City commissioners, sitting as the CRA board of directors, voted 4-0 to approve a grant of $7,048 that will go toward replacing the front window system of the funeral home. It is to be replaced by a new "bow window system," according to a memo to the board.

In voting for the grant for the 1912 building, Commissioner Jim Shive said the funeral home company is in "dire need" of fixing the window.

After a resident spoke of the need for the CRA board to consider maintaining the building's historic footprint, owner Randy Bush expressed the same interest.

The vote came a little more than a month after controversy swirled over the same CRA grant program when ANPM Enterprises LLC., a company owned by Mayor Camille Hernandez's husband, was denied a $10,000 grant request to fix windows on his Seventh Street building downtown.

On June 27, the CRA board deadlocked on David Hernandez's request after his wife recused herself from voting. Hernandez's request became a hot point after a television news report questioned why the husband of the mayor had received more than $52,000 in grants over the years.

That led Commissioner Scott Black to read a statement against giving any more money to Hernandez, saying his relationship to the mayor made for a concerning perception problem for the city. Commissioner Nicole Deese Newlon voted along with the Black to deny the grant funding. Shive and Commissioner Eunice Penix voted against the denial, saying the city's staff recommended issuing the grant. The deadlock in effect blocked Hernandez from receiving the funding.

Mayor Hernandez did not vote on her husband's grant request and left the room without comment during June's proceedings. She did vote for the grant funding for Hodges this week.

"I understand you need to protect your building," she said.

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