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City Officials Hear From First Lady, Hope to Save Community Development Block Grants

Several Louisville officials are in Washington this week for the National League of Cities conference, and at least one member of the city's delegation is hoping to convince federal officials to rethink a proposed budget cut.The conference attendees heard today Tuesday from First Lady Michelle Obama. Mrs. Obama promoted her Let's Move campaign to fight childhood obesity. Louisville Metro Councilman David Tandy says some of the First Lady's suggestions, such as encouraging healthy eating and exercise, can be implemented locally at no cost. But others take money."When you're talking about the re-striping of streets so that you have dedicated bike lanes or to make the necessary repairs that you'd have on various equipment that's around the city or, for that matter, making sure community centers are open, that requires funds," he says.Tandy says money for those programs, and to bring fresh produce to urban food deserts, can come from the federal government through community development block grants. But those funds could soon be scarce. The U.S. House has proposed cutting the grants by more than 60%."That's a big hit," says Tandy. "So when you start talking about reducing funding, you're taking it away from places that have proven positive results," he says.

Gabe Bullard is the director of news and editorial strategy.