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FARMINGTON — Farmington wants public feedback of a draft plan outlining how it anticipates spending a federal grant intended to help public services and build infrastructure.

Since 2004, the city has received the Community Development Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and each year it has to decide which agencies to help and what projects to fund. The city is scheduled to receive $348,432 this year.

According to its plan, the city anticipates spending 65 percent of the grant funds on two capital projects and 15 percent on seven public service projects. It will use the remaining 20 percent to plan and administer the funds.

The City Council is scheduled to consider approving the plan on Aug. 11, and the public can tell councilors in the meeting how they feel about the plan.

In the meantime, the public can submit written comments on the plan to Community Development Director Mary Holton by fax at 505-599-1299 or email at mholton@fmtn.org.

The public can find the plan in the City Clerk's office, Holton's department, the Farmington Public Library's reference desk or the city's website.

The capital projects included for funding in the plan would improve as many as three Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs facilities and up to 45 sidewalks so that they comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Six other agencies in the city could receive $7,000 or $9,000. Identity Inc. — a small organization that opened a community center in late January to help the local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community — could get $4,264.

"We're just getting off the ground," treasurer and board member Don Stage said.

With the grant, Stage said the center would hire an employee to work maybe two hours a day five days a week to assemble a resource list for LGBT people and ensure they have access to those resources. Presently, only volunteers run the center, he said.

Stage said Mayor Tommy Roberts recommended that the center apply for the grant, and he's grateful the mayor did. The center incurs approximately $600 a month in expenses and raises most of its funds by charging admission to its live music offerings and splitting that money with the performers.

The LGBT community in the county is larger than most people realize, Stage said. He's lived in the area for 31 years, and conditions have improved since then, he said. But the overall community is still extremely conservative, he said.

"Even here, does it always feel safe?" he said. "No, to be honest with you, it doesn't."

Dan Schwartz covers government for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4606 and dschwartz@daily-times.com. Follow him @dtdschwartz on Twitter.

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