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Opinion: Jackson's grant proposals

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Like every other municipality, the city of Jackson is always searching for any grant possibilities that might save money for our city. As a small, fiscally conservative city, we do not have a person on our staff whose principal responsibility is to write grants. Basically, each department seeks out and writes the grants appropriate for that particular department. Since getting very competitive grants requires accurate, tedious work, we are always pleased when we receive one.

Our departments have been very successful in receiving grants. In the last two years, the police department has received Justice Assistance, Highway Safety, Secure our Schools, and MoDOT Safe Routes to Schools grants totaling over $100,000. Kent Peetz, director of wastewater utilities, applied for and received a grant of $466,000 for an energy upgrade to the wastewater plant. This grant was awarded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Transform Missouri Initiative.

Building and planning superintendent Janet Sanders applied for and received a $250,000 Downtown Revitalization and Economic Assistance for Missouri (DREAM) Initiative grant. This three-year project will provide planning services for uptown Jackson revitalization. Our original recycling center was built with grant money. Just recently we received two additional grants through the SEMO Solid Waste Management District. One grant for $45,000 was for a new baler. The other was for a 2,500-square-foot extension, for which city crews provided all the labor and the grant provided materials.

We also received a grant of $21,000 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's Energy Conservation Program to upgrade fluorescent lighting fixtures for 19 city buildings. David Grimes of the Southeast Missouri Regional Planning and Economic Development Commission prepared this grant for at least seven entities. Public works director Rodney Bollinger has applied for and received several grants through the Missouri Department of Transportation's Transportation Enhancement Program to complete portions of the city's recreation trails plan. The latest project, the East Lane recreation trail, was constructed with a $62,000 grant.

Margaret Yates of the planning commission prepared the very complex grant application for the Missouri Department of Economic Development's Community Development Block Grant through which the city received $500,000 for new infrastructure at the city's industrial park.

Over the past several years, the fire department has received grants totaling over $277,000 for such things as thermal imaging cameras, radio communication equipment and a new brush/rescue truck. The most recent grant is through a FEMA Assistance to Firefighters grant for $598,000, which is 95 percent of the cost of a state-of-the-art ladder truck. This new truck will be on display during an open house at the fire station from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday when we will dedicate the new truck and celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Jackson Fire Department. You are invited.

Barbara Lohr is the mayor of Jackson.


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Barbara Lohr
Mayor's Corner: Barbara Lohr
Jackson Mayor Barbara Lohr is one of three local mayors writing weekly columns for the Southeast Missourian.