Polk County receives $1.2 million in grants
Polk County Enterprise - December 2007
LIVINGSTON – Polk County, the cities of Livingston, Onalaska and Corrigan all received grants in varying amounts from the Office of Rural Community Affairs (ORCA) following Thursday’s meeting of the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG).
County Judge John Thompson and Commissioners Tommy Overstreet and Ronnie Vincent accepted two ceremonial checks for Polk County grants totaling more than $1.2 million including a $886,854 Texas Community Development Block Grant that provides funds for Disaster Recovery projects (non-housing projects) from damages due to Hurricane Rita. Funds are intended for countywide restoration of public water, sewer and fire protection, as well as for generators for Corrigan, Goodrich, Livingston and Onalaska water and sewer facilities and generators at volunteer fire departments located throughout the county.
The county also received a $350,000 Texas Community Development Block Grant to provide funds for Disaster Recovery projects from damages due to 2006 flooding. The floods of October 2006 severely damaged Swick Trail Road and the drainage system in Big Thicket Lake Estates. Funds will repair the road system serving close to 1,500 residents.
The City of Onalaska received a $250,000 Texas Community Development Block Grant that provides funds for the sewer expansion project.
“We’re exceptionally fortunate to have received this grant two years in a row,” said Onalaska Mayor Lew Vail. “That’s a half million dollars to expand our waste management in Onalaska.”
Onalaska also received a $28,050 Texas Community Development Block Grant for a natural gas generator to power the fire station during power failures and other emergency situations.Corrigan Mayor Grimes Fortune was on hand to accept the ceremonial check presented to the City of Corrigan for a $249,000 Texas Community Development Block Grant for a water improvements project.
Councilman Ray Hill of the City of Livingston received the ceremonial check for a $129,194 Texas Community Development Block Grant that provided funds for the purchase of three natural gas generators for each of the city’s water pumping stations.
A total of $15,893,027 in grants was awarded by ORCA between Sept. 1, 2006 and Aug. 31, 2007 to the Deep East Texas region. The funds supported a variety of local undertakings, including local infrastructure development (planning, capacity building, water, wastewater) projects, disaster relief, healthcare accessibility enhancements, medical facility improvements, and healthcare professional recruitment endeavors, to name a few.
“ORCA was created to support rural Texas,” said Charles Stone, ORCA Executive Director. “We are pleased to have awarded more than $15.8 million in grants to the Deep East Texas area during the past year. Many of these grant programs are competitive, so it is appropriate that we honor the efforts of every recipient for their dedication to their rural community.”
DETCOG Executive Director, Walter Diggles, also announced during the meeting that the agency’s Hurricane Rita Relief program has identified 129 eligible applicants for assistance under the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA)/Community Development Block Grant program. Eleven purchase orders have been issued for replacement housing with five of them already delivered and installed. Diggles announced that DETCOG and TDHCA would be working this next month to speed up delivery of assistance to victims of Hurricane Rita.
The monthly DETCOG meeting was hosted by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe. Polk County Judge John Thompson, staff from Thompson’s office Jan Shandley and Marcia Cook, Precinct 4 Commissioner Tommy Overstreet, Precinct 2 Commissioner Ronnie Vincent and Maintenance Engineer Jay Burks served the group rib-eye steaks, twice-baked potatoes and pinto beans, raising the bar for future hosts of the monthly meeting.