MOREHOUSE - Morehouse was awarded a $180,100 Community Development Block Grant for drainage system improvements in the city's southwestern section.
"This is going to help us tremendously," said Mayor Pete Leija. "I'm just glad that we got it - tickled to death, surprised. Everybody is tickled to death that we got it."
The improvements will be focused on the drainage ditch which runs from the north down through the center of town before bending to the west to drain into the Little River Drainage District, according to Leija.
Leija said several culverts in the ditch have fallen in and the ditch itself is overgrown.
The project was approved to "remove health and safety issues related to flooding that has affected homeowners and the city's street maintenance in that area of town," according to Joe E. Lane, director of community planning for the Bootheel Regional Planning and Economic Development Commission at Malden. The BRPC prepared the grant application and will administer the grant.
While flooding is not always evident above ground, Leija said, homes and a church in that section of town have had to replace flooring due to water damage. "It keeps a lot of moisture there from water not getting away fast enough," he said.
The grant is part of the $2.2 million recently released by the Missouri Department of Economic Development for bridge, street and drainage projects in nine rural Missouri communities.
"Access to safe transportation routes is not only important to the safety and well being of Missouri families, it is also a vital component in attracting good economic development opportunities," Gov. Matt Blunt said in a recent press release announcing the grant awards. "We are pleased to help provide funds that will help these rural communities address important infrastructure needs."
The DED's CDBG program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development with the competitive grants being awarded annually to smaller cities and rural communities in the state to address critical infrastructure needs.
The program provides economic development grants and loan funds to cities with a population under 50,000 and counties under 200,000 for projects that primarily benefit low- and moderate-income families. The bridge, street and drainage category provides funds for both new construction and rehabilitation.
The grants require the recipient city or county to contribute on the projects with a local match of cash, in-kind work or a combination of the two.
Lane said the project's total cost is projected to be $194,100 and that Morehouse will meet the local match requirement with $6,000 worth of in-
kind work and a cash match of $8,000. "It may be adjusted, it depends on the bid," he said.
"We're meeting Monday night with the engineer to get more specific," Leija said.
Rich Cochran of Waters and Associates is serving as the engineer on the project, according to Leija.
Dudley was also included in this round of grant awards and will receive $340,000 to improve street ditches, install underground drainage pipes and pave all the city's gravel streets.