Regional Cities Receive State Grants
Cities throughout Clay and Lawrence counties recently received investments from the General Improvement Fund (GIF) program to assist with community improvement projects. On Wednesday, Jan. 26 a grant presentation ceremony was held at the eastern district Clay County Courthouse in Piggott. On hand for the occasion were local officials from the various cities, along with the region's state lawmakers and a representative from the East Arkansas Planning and Development District (EAPDD).
GIF investments are administered by the EAPDD, and were secured by the 2013 Arkansas State legislature. The program connects resources available through the state with regional, economic and community priorities.
"I am honored to represent the fine folks in Northeast Arkansas," said State Rep. Joe Jett of Success. "We have worked hard in the legislature to bring money to the hard-working communities and residents in this area. As state representative for District 56, it is my goal for these funds to be spent to improve the lives of citizens in Clay and Lawrence Counties."
During the presentation the City of Rector received a $20,000 award to purchase equipment for several city departments and functions.
"Rector is very pleased to have received the recent General Improvement Funds with the help of Rep. Joe Jett and the EAPDD," said Rector Mayor David Freeman. "We have purchased a welding machine and a trailer to make the welding machine available for use all around the city."
Freeman also noted some of the funding will be used to build new restrooms and dressing rooms in the community center, addressing a need for more accessible arrangements for performers at the various events held in the center each year.
"We have also upgraded the electronic controls (to save energy), and lightning arrestor, for one of our water wells, and will do the same with another well this spring," added Freeman. "These small projects make our town so much better, and we simply would not have funds available if we had not received the GIF grant."
The City of Piggott will use its $20,000 GIF investment to assist with the purchase of a fire service/equipment vehicle.
"These funds will used toward the purchase of a much needed piece of equipment for the fire department," said Piggott Mayor Gerald Morris. "This will go a long way toward improving our safety and efficiency when responding to fires and emergency situations."
GIF funds totaling $10,000 will be used by the City of Corning toward the purchase of a fire service and rescue truck.
"We are very appreciative to receive grant funds to assist with the purchase of a first responder vehicle, which is greatly needed in our community," said Corning Mayor Dewayne Phelan.
A $20,000 investment from GIF funds will also help the town of Success upgrade its wastewater treatment plant, improving its long-term operations.
"We are very thankful for the investment the town of Success will receive to update our wastewater system and for Rep. Jett's support in applying for this grant money," said Success Mayor Linda Brewer.
The Town of Maynard received $2,500 in GIF funds to assist with the construction of a sidewalk at its elementary school located on Highway 328W.
"The Town of Maynard is very appreciative for the $2,500 grant we are receiving as a result of the assistance of Rep. Joe Jett and EAPDD," said Maynard Mayor Gary Hart. "The grant will be used to construct a handicap accessible sidewalk at our grade school on Hwy 328 West, replacing an old, crumbling sidewalk."
"It is an honor to assist these communities in Clay and Lawrence Counties with many important projects," said Melissa Rivers, EAPDD executive director. "Infrastructure and quality of life enhancements have been identified as top priorities for our region and with assistance from our legislators, our communities are seeing positive changes in both areas of need."
EAPDD is a non-profit, regional planning and development agency, serving a twelve-county area of East Arkansas. The District's purpose is to promote and support the economic development of the region. It does this by providing technical assistance to the cities, counties, businesses, and other development organizations in the area, and by networking extensively with state and federal resource agencies. Those wanting more information on East Arkansas Planning and Development District and reNEW East Arkansas may visit www.reneweastarkansas.com