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October 26, 2023

Coppell to launch pilot rehabilitation program aimed at neighborhood preservation

The+City+of+Coppell+is+launching+a+residential+rehabilitation+program%2C+assisting+homeowners+of+homes+30+years+or+older.+This+program+allows+applicants+to+utilize+city+funds+in+paying+for+part+of+home+exterior+improvements.+
Sameeha Syed
The City of Coppell is launching a residential rehabilitation program, assisting homeowners of homes 30 years or older. This program allows applicants to utilize city funds in paying for part of home exterior improvements.

To maintain its neighborhood integrity, the City of Coppell is launching a trial rehabilitation program to assist owners of older homes with exterior improvements. 

According to the director of community development Mindi Hurley, community infrastructure has started to age with approximately 63.3% of homes in Coppell at 30 years or older. Through this trial program, homeowners can apply for a grant with up to 50% reimbursement for external renovations costing up to $10,000. To be eligible for this grant, homes must be 30 years or older, projects must total $1,000 or more and all projects must receive building permits and pass inspections. 

In its Feb. 13 meeting, Coppell City Council mandated that renovations can only take place in owner-occupied homes during the trial period.

“For me, it was important to prioritize our homeowners just to make sure the people that have lived in the community for a while have an opportunity to take advantage of the grant first,” council member Kevin Nevels said. 

The City Council has budgeted $100,000 from the previously unallocated American Rescue Plan Act funds to finance the trial program. One grant can be awarded per property in a 24-month period with a maximum grant value of up to $10,000. This could mean that only 10 homeowners will be able to utilize these funds.

“We hope that all $100,000 is utilized,” Hurley said. “Let’s say I applied for $5000 worth of work to my home, I would only get $2500 back. That allows more people to get [money]. However far we can allocate the funds is what we want to do.”

However, funding is specifically for external renovations. No internal renovations will be covered through the program.

Marketing for this program will tentatively start at the end of March, with applications for the grants opening around three weeks later. An online form will be made available to citizens who can then fill out, print and submit in person. In addition to the form, individuals need to attach documentation including quotes of renovation costs. 

“It’s going to be first come, first serve,” Hurley said. “They will bring all the documentation to us partly, because we don’t want things to get lost in the system. It guarantees that we can date and time stamp [the submissions], so that we can show when we received it and which order we received it in, and know there was fairness in it.”

Currently, an annual amount of $200,000 has been earmarked for the implementation of this program in the five-year forecast for fiscal year 2025-26. However, continuation of this program is dependent on council approval after the trial period ends and the program is evaluated.

“The thing I’m looking for is utilization,” Nevels said. “Is this a program that our community wants? Will we have people [who] take advantage of it? The popularity of the program will help determine if we continue, and if it’s a very popular program, then we have to look at being careful with taxpayer money.”

After the trial period ends, funding for the program will come from Coppell’s general fund. This, however, has sparked concern for council member Jim Walker. 

“I just don’t think that we should be taking from one group of taxpayers that are taking care of their home and all of those things that are incidental to home ownership, and using their tax dollars for people that decide they want to apply for a grant, and have the city fund up to $10,000 of the same types of improvements,” Walker said. “We’ve got to be very prudent with how we spend our taxpayers’ dollars.”

Walker is also apprehensive that the program may work in the opposite manner than intended.

“People would apply for the grant thinking, ‘Gosh, it’s going to cost $15,000 to paint my house. I’ll apply for this grant and see if I can get $10,000,” Walker said. “But then the grant doesn’t get approved, so then they think, ‘well, I’ll hold off on painting my house and I’ll apply next year,’ and it still doesn’t get approved. So now, they’ve gone three years not painting their home, when, if that program wasn’t there to incentivize them to put it off until they got the money from the city, they probably would have already had it painted.”

Nevels acknowledges concerns about employing taxpayer money for this program but is looking at its holistic effects.

“What I would say to that is, I definitely understand his concerns about [taxpayer money usage], but I think it’s important for us to consider our neighborhood integrity and maintain property values,” Nevels said. “That’s why I’m really interested in the pilot program, to see if this is going to be a good program for the community as a whole.”

Follow @sriachanta_ and @CHScampusnews on X. Sports assignment editor Ava Johnson contributed to this report. 

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About the Contributors
Sri Achanta
Sri Achanta, Executive Editor-in-Chief
Sri Achanta is a senior and the executive editor-and-chief of The Sidekick. She finds joy in finding narratives within conversations to create compelling stories. In her free time, you can find her reading fantasy and mystery novels, her personal favorite book being Legendborn by Tracy Deon. Sri also enjoys painting still life, prefering acrylic paint over oil paints anytime. One of her favorite artworks is a sculpture by Michelangelo called the “Pietà”.  Sri is always up for a good plate of sushi or a meal at her favorite restaurant, Siam Thai, where she gets her go-to favorite dish which is spicy drunken noodles. She loves to top off her dinner with her favorite drink, Matcha tea. She also never passes on an opportunity to hang out with her friends and family. Her favorite childhood show is “The Wizards of Waverly Place” and she’s currently on her fourth rewatch. To contact her, you can email her at [email protected] or on 'X' (@Sriachanta_ ).
Sameeha Syed
Sameeha Syed, Social Media Manager
Sameeha Syed is a senior and the Social Media Manager for The Sidekick. Syed joined The Sidekick thinking she was going to write, but realized she enjoyed taking photos and videos more. On rainy days, you can find her listening to her favorite artist, Steve Lacey, or watching her favorite movie, Little Women (2019). Syed loves spicy, flavorful food and her drink of choice is hot chai. Syed dislikes sweets; in fact, she would take savory food over dessert any day. Syed has a super cool fashion style, and if you look at her hands, 9 times out of 10, she has on her fun accessories: her rings and her favorite watch. Syed has a list of odd things she really likes, and on that list is her emotional support water bottle and warm socks. Syed also is very much a night owl, preferring to stay awake later rather than wake up earlier. Her favorite subjects in school are history and literature courses. You can contact her on Instagram (@ssameeha) or through email ([email protected]). 

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