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County wins recognition for federal spending project

[8/13/04]Federal funds have helped finance public works projects for four employers in Warren County and are helping pay for a road and two bridges in Vicksburg.

One of the county’s projects that has been completed using the funds has been selected for an award by Gov. Haley Barbour, and the county government is to be recognized in Jackson Wednesday.

The county’s board of supervisors heard a report Thursday from its grant-administration consultants on $3.3 million that has been received and spent or is expected to be received for five projects.

The report was presented by Olie Elfer of Jimmy G. Gouras Urban Planning Consultants at a required public hearing on Community Development Block Grant funds. Public comments were solicited but none were given at the hearing.

The CDBG program is funded by the federal government with funds passing through state-government administrators to local governments.

About $2.5 million of the $3.3 million has been received and spent, Elfer said. The projects that have been completed using CDBG funds are access roads at the Yorozu and Calsonic Kansei auto-parts-manufacturing plants and sewer improvements at the Tyson chicken-cooking plant, all at the Ceres Industrial Interplex, and water and sewer improvements at River Region Medical Center.

Projects under way using CDBG funds are an access road at the Anderson-Tully Company veneer mill off North Washington Street, to use $500,000 in CDBG funds, and improvements to the Cherry and Adams street bridges over Glass Bayou in North Vicksburg, to use $450,000 in CDBG funds.

The $3.3 million in CDBG money has been added to about $78.2 million in private investment, $1.1 million in county funds and $105,000 in city funds for the projects, Elfer said.

Warren County’s contributions to the projects were made mainly through the port commission and from state funds earmarked for road construction and improvement.

All the city funds were allocated to the bridge projects, which are in the design phase with plans to complete acquisition of necessary easements to complete the project.

Private businesses whose facilities have been improved by the CDBG money have pledged to create 575 jobs in the county, Elfer said. At least half of the jobs in each business are to benefit low-to-moderate income people, Elfer said.

The Calsonic Kansei project has been selected by the Mississippi Development Authority as winner of a Communities of Excellence award. CDBG grants Warren County has received have been administered at the state level by the MDA.