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Zephyrhills chooses partner for homeless grant

ZEPHYRHILLS — The city will pair up with a local church to apply for a state grant that provides money to help homeless citizens or those at risk of losing their homes.

The city council on Monday unanimously chose the sole applicant for the grant partnership, Chancey Road Christian Church. The church applied in conjunction with the nonprofit Samaritan Project, which will administer the grant if the city gets it.

City Manager Jim Drumm said the opportunity to apply for the money came unexpectedly last week, with a short window to apply. The state normally takes applications in January but reopened the process when funds became available, Drumm said. The city missed the chance to go for the money earlier this year but scrambled to advertise for a partner with this opportunity, he added.

Several potential partners expressed interest, but only one — Chancey Road — submitted an application, said Drumm. The council will vote on a contract for the partnership at its next meeting Oct. 28.

In other business, the council approved a bid of just over $1 million from Pillar Construction Group of Clermont to complete renovations to the Sixth Avenue fire station. A $750,000 community development block grant, along with money from the Penny for Pasco and city utility fund, will pay for the work.

Council members are also moving forward with the rehabilitation of an airport runway and taxiway by selecting CW Roberts Construction of Tallahassee to do the work for $4.7 million. The city's portion of the project is $332,834; the rest will be covered by federal and state grants.

Drumm said the project, when complete, will be the most significant work done on any of the airport's runways since the facility was built in the 1940s. Councilwoman Jodi Wilkeson noted the important economic contribution the airport makes to the city after voting to approve the Roberts bid.