A public hearing was held Monday during the Crawford County Quorum Court meeting about a proposed water project in the north central part of the county.
Tracee McKenna, director of community development for the Western Arkansas Planning and Development District, conducted the hearing on Crawford County’s behalf to try to identify the community development needs of the area.
McKenna said the county is looking to apply for Community Development Block Grant funds for the project. A public hearing is necessary to determine if the project is the best use of those funds within the county as part of the application process.
“So just a little brief synopsis of that project, in order to be eligible for the block grant funding, the … area being served has to be 51 percent low-to-moderate income,” McKenna said. “So we spent about 18 months surveying a large area of north central Crawford County, and determined that those folks that are currently without city water, they do meet that requirement. I think we got them to … 53 percent LMI for that project area, so that’s what makes that project eligible.”
The block grant funds are through the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, McKenna said, and the county can request up to $1 million from that funding program to get water lines to that area. These water lines would be from the city of Mountainburg, with the city water department serving that area.
Mountainburg will also be looking at U.S. Department of Agriculture money to fund the remainder of the project.
“And those funds would go through the Mountainburg water department,” McKenna said. “But because the entire project area is actually in Crawford County, then they prefer that the block grant funds go through the county because that’s who has jurisdiction over that area.”
McKenna invited members of the Crawford County Quorum Court to voice any comments they had about the project, as well as any other community development needs they saw in the county. She said the project would affect about 600 households in north central Crawford County. Other projects that are eligible for the block grant funding include bridge and drainage projects in areas of the county that meet the 51 percent low-to-moderate income requirement. Royal Wade Kimes, who is on the North Central Crawford County Water Users Steering Committee, and Jeremy Shores of Hawkins-Weir Engineers were also present to answer questions from justices of the peace.
The JPs also approved three resolutions during its regular meeting Monday night. McKenna said in the public hearing these resolutions are requirements of the Community Development Block Grant program, which flows down from federal Housing and Urban Development funds to the state, which administers that program.
“So those are federal requirements of the CDBG program through HUD,” McKenna said.
Crawford County Judge Dennis Gilstrap said the county has applied for these types of grants in the past, with these same resolutions having been passed before as well.
The first resolution passed on Monday was one adopting a citizen participation plan for Crawford County.
The second resolution was one establishing a policy prohibiting the use of excessive force by law enforcement agencies within the county’s jurisdiction against any individuals engaged in nonviolent civil rights demonstrations.
The third resolution was one authorizing the Crawford County judge to submit an application for Arkansas Community and Economic Development Program grant funds to the state.