July 16, 2008

Water Grant Received By County

By Tesa Culli, Mt. Vernon Register-News, Ill.

Jul. 16--MT. VERNON -- Efforts to get water service for households outside the Rend Lake Conservancy District in Moores Prairie improved as the Jefferson County Board was notified that it had received a Community Development Assistance Program grant from the state for design engineering.

"The grant was applied for a long time ago, and it had been on the back burner," Jefferson County board member Dexter Edmison said. "We just found out the grant was approved."

Edmison and County Board Chairman Ted Buck had championed the cause of getting water for the residents, after the residents -- who do not pay taxes to RLCD -- asked the district to expand its water line to offer service. They were turned down by the district, which said it would be unable to take on the additional project at the time.

RLCD did get the residents in touch with Ike Kirkikis of the Greater Egypt Planning Commission, but a governmental body to accept the grant for the residents was still needed. Edmison and Buck stepped forward, with the planning commission doing the work needed to submit the application for the grant.

According to the Greater Egypt Planning Commission, work for the application included a door-to-door survey of residents in Moores Prairie Township to determine if they would qualify for the grant based on income guidelines. The surveys showed that 51 percent of those applying for the grant were in the low to medium income range, preliminary design work for the grant was completed and the grant application submitted to the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunities in May 2007, according to the planning commission.

The county received $73,400 in grant funds, which will be administered by the Greater Egypt Planning Commission. The grant allows $54,400 in design engineering, which will be completed by Heneghan & Associates of Centralia; $15,000 to obtain easements; and $4,000 for general administration costs. The grant was officially granted on June 23.

According to information from the planning commission, there are 47 homes, with about 127 individuals affected by the project. Once the design engineering and easements are obtained, the planning commission expects to be applying for another grant for the construction costs.

"It's real good news to me," Edmison said. Edmison, who has decided not to run for another term on the board said he hopes work to complete the project and expand it continues. "There's still one small area that is not served in my district. Hopefully, someone will continue the work and pick up the banner."


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