Thursday, May 31, 2007
Grants/loans hit $3.5 million
By SUE WATSON
The state director of USDA-Rural Development made a lot of people happy last week.
John Rounsaville was in Holly Springs Thursday for four ceremonial check signings. Also present was Wanda Christian with Northeast Mississippi Planning and Development District to announce simultaneous Community Development Block Grant dollars going to two of the projects.
The Town of Potts Camp, City of Holly Springs, Holly Springs School District and Marshall County Water Association was funded for low interest Rural Development utility system loans and grants totalling over $3.5 million.
Potts Camp water project
Potts Camp will upgrade an existing booster station and water distribution station to increase capacity for residents in the Potts Camp and Benton County area. The loan for $219,000 from Rural Development will be combined with a community development block grant from Northeast Mississippi Planning and Development for $300,000 to bring the total dollar for this water project to $519,000.
Potts Camp mayor Jimmie Collins said the present booster station was designed to serve 60 users. Growth in the area has increased demand for a system upgrade to maintain water pressure in the system and avoid potential health hazards, he said. The upgrade will also provide potable water to area residents who are on private wells and septic tanks.
Holly Springs waste water
A Rural Development loan of $594,830 was awarded to the city of Holly Springs to upgrade the city’s lagoon. A Communty Development Block Grant for $450,000 from North East Mississippi Planning and Development District, brought the total sewer project funding to just over $1 million.
The money will be used to construct a maintenance slab with a high pressure washing system and an electrical system for maintaining the sewage treatment levels to standards of the state department of environmental quality.
Marshall County Water Association
A low interest loan of over $1.65 million was granted to the Marshall County Water Association, a nonprofit utility that provides potable water in the northwestern portion of the county.
A 300,000-gallon elevated tank and aerator will be constructed to provide for improved service and future expansion of service on both sides of Goodman Road and along Lake Hill Road and Lake Hill Cove.
The project will improve the pressure and volume throughout the existing system now serving about 1,400 residential and 22 commercial customers.
Betty Wiggs, president of the association, said the association had to beat the bushes to get 500 required members to get the water system started.
She’s proud of the service the water association provides.
“We’ve gotten a perfect score for three years from the health department,” Wiggs said. “We have a good well operator and Rural Development has helped us along the way.”
The association is now serving some of Barton and just started a 12-inch main down Goodman Road, she said.
The association also serves large industrial customers in the Chickasaw Trails Industrial Park area.
Vice-president Richard Simmons agreed that keeping ahead of new development is a big responsibility.
“I wonder if we’re going to be ready for development,” he said. “It’s coming pretty fast.”
“Y’all have been most helpful and we wouldn’t have been here without Rural Development,” Wiggs said.
The Holly Springs School District was awarded a $406,000 grant to purchase videoconferencing equipment. The money will be used by a consortium - the district, Quitman County Schools, Rust College and Marshall County Health Department. The details of this grant will be provided in a separate article next week.
U.S. Sens. Trent Lott and Thad Cochran and U.S. Rep. Roger Wicker were instrumental in getting federal allocations for these projects.
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