JONESBORO — Three local communities have received Rural Community Grants from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) totaling $33,297 to make improvements to help their towns.
According to a press release released Thursday by AEDC’s Rural Services Division, recipients of the Rural Community Grants included:
the Bay Fire Department, which received $15,000.
Poinsett County, which received $15,000.
the Southridge Volunteer Fire Department, which received $3,297.
AEDC’s Rural Services Division awarded a total of $863,010.61 in grants to 37 cities and counties in Arkansas through two grant programs and AEDC Deputy Director Clint O’ Neal, and Director of Rural Services, Becca Caldwell, presented the grants to recipients at the Arkansas Rural Development Summit. May 12 at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock.
The two grant programs are the Rural Community Grant Program and the Rural Services Block Grant Program.
The Rural Community Grants Program awarded a total of $390,590.61 to 30 cities and counties in Arkansas to fund projects such as baseball diamonds, community parks, walking trails, community centers, fire stations, fire trucks and other fire protection related equipment.
This grant is available to applicants from incorporated cities with populations under 3,000 and unincorporated rural areas and applicants are eligible for up to $15,000 in matching funds under the program.
Bay Fire Department Chief Charles Mitchell said Friday they found out they had received their $15,000 grant about two weeks ago after applying for it around January.
“We’re buying a new skid unit with it. The one we had was 20 years old and needed replacing,” Mitchell said, noting that the skid unit fits in the back of a truck and is very useful for grappling. against grass fires.
Poinsett County Judge Randy Mills said Friday their $15,000 grant will be used for an ongoing project that the Poinsett County Cooperative Extension Service has started in conjunction with the city and the county, who have also invested in the project, to build a new learning park for local youth.
“Although fieldwork started in 2020, they really got it last year when they applied for two grants; however, they received only one of these grants. So now they are trying again this year for more grants. It’s just one of the first they’ve received so far this year,” Mills said, noting that the new park will include learning gardens, a pavilion and a walking track.
The park will be located in downtown Harrisburg near the Poinsett County Extension Office.
Lt. Keith Beeson of the Southridge Volunteer Fire Service, which handles departmental grants, said on Thursday that the Southridge Volunteer Fire Service discovered a few weeks ago that it was receiving a $3,297 grant. $.
“We will use the money to purchase two sets of battery-powered tools to power our main engines,” Beeson said, noting that the new tools will include chainsaws, reciprocating saws, rescue saws and more.
“With these tools, it will be much easier to get into difficult places such as vehicles and commercial buildings,” he said. “It will be a game changer.”
The other program was the Rural Services Block Grant Program, which awarded a total of $472,420 to seven cities and counties in Arkansas to fund the construction or renovation of community centers, fire stations or mixed-use buildings, as well as the purchase of fire trucks (pump, cistern, brush or certain service trucks).
This grant is available to applicants from incorporated cities with populations under 3,000 and unincorporated rural areas with low to moderate incomes of 51% or more and applicants are eligible for funding of up to $75,000 in part of the program with a counterpart of 10%.
For cities and counties interested in applying for fiscal year 2023 grants, the next application cycle deadline is August 11, 2022. More program information, along with deadlines, can be found at www.arkansasedc.com/Rural-Services/division.