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McDuffie shut out of CDBG funding

Three strikes and McDuffie County is out.

Earlier this year, the cities of Thomson and Dearing and the McDuffie County government each applied for a Community Development Block Grant from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. All three were turned down.

The grants would have been used to make a wide array of improvements in several areas.

Thomson planned to use the $500,000 to enhance housing in the Pitts Street neighborhood. Dearing hoped to fix up the old Dearing Elementary gym as a community center, and the county wanted to install sewage in the Hays Line district.

Despite the fact that Thomson will receive no funding from the state, City Administrator Bob Flanders said the project will move forward but will be temporarily delayed. Partnering with Habitat for Humanity will still take place to bring about improvements in the area that are part of the redevelopment effort.

"It doesn't kill (the plans). It simply means that we've got to go back and try again," Mr. Flanders said. "It was disappointing, but it's not a show stopper. ...It delays the housing component in the redevelopment over there, but it just means we've got to hitch up our britches and plow again. And we shall."

McDuffie County Manager Don Norton said the sewer project is much needed. Commissioners stated during meetings that several in the area do not have indoor plumbing, but the project will be on hold for now. Mr. Norton added that the county could possibly decide to reapply next year with a few changes.

"Probably, we're going to do what we always do when we do not get those grants and that is find out why not and what we can do differently to, in effect, change their minds for the next time," Mr. Norton said.

Dearing's application to refurbish the old gym was not as urgent a need as some of the other projects, according to Mayor Ralph Menees. He said since the application was denied, the county has promised to chip in about $70,000 to patch up the gym and make it handicap accessible.

"(Refurbishing the gym) would be beneficial for this part of the county, for the youth and adults who use it," Mayor Menees said.

Even though all three CDBG applications within the county were denied this year, Thomson and McDuffie County have had much success with the grants in the past. According to Mr. Flanders, three current CDBG funded projects from years past are still underway, one for Thomson and two for the county.



Web posted on Thursday, September 15, 2005











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