Anguilla on list to receive $337,000 in grant

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Gov. Ronnie Musgrove talks with Anguilla Mayor Emma Cooper-Harris Tuesday at Anguilla City Hall. (The Vicksburg Post/Victor Sumerall)

[08/21/02]ANGUILLA Gov. Ronnie Musgrove paid a visit Tuesday to Anguilla to inform officials he will recommend the city get $337,000 from the Delta Regional Authority.

Musgrove told an audience of about 150 people that the farming community needed infrastructure to help keep the Mississippi Delta going.

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“Things I have seen when I ride through (include) hopelessness in people’s eyes,” Musgrove said. “I want you to know as governor of Mississippi this is unacceptable.”

Anguilla officials said they applied for money from the Delta Regional Authority, a federal grant agency, on July 24 and received an answer Monday.

“Never before in history have I ever seen government work that fast,” Anguilla Mayor Emma Cooper-Harris said.

Cooper-Harris said the city plans to spend the money to tear down City Hall and build a new community municipal building.

“When the governor comes back in a year he can cut the ribbon off the facility,” Cooper-Harris said.

The grant money must still be approved by Pete Johnson, co-chairman of the Delta Regional Authority.

The authority serves 236 counties in eight states. Grants are awarded for public infrastructure, transportation infrastructure, business development and job training.

Under federal law, 75 percent of funds must be targeted to distressed counties and pockets of poverty, and 50 percent of project dollars are dedicated to transportation and basic infrastructure improvements. Anguilla is a farming community of 1,000 residents on U.S. 61 north of Rolling Fork in Sharkey County.

Musgrove said more than 212 applications seeking a total of $70 million were accepted from 45 counties in Mississippi. The agency has $4.1 million to award this cycle. Musgrove said the next closest state had about $50 million in requests, $20 million less than Mississippi.

“This means there is a lot of need out there,” Musgrove added, saying grant funds should be increased.

“I’m calling on Congress to help us to increase the funding for the Delta Regional Authority, to invest the money back into the Delta and the community where it can make a difference,” he said.

The region has been losing population for decades, and the pace had picked up in the 2000 census. Musgrove said he wants to see Delta children grow up and have opportunities to build their careers and not have to move away.

“It’s just as important to raise quality of life right here for young people as it is any place else in the state of Mississippi,” Musgrove said.