County considers grant for roads

Published 5:28 pm Wednesday, April 12, 2006

A grant application for road projects - in which at least several miles of county roads need to be paved - was up for consideration during Monday morning's county commission meeting.
Susan and Ken Towry, with the Towry Agency, have concluded that at least 18 miles of county roads are in need of paving.
All the roads are in need of paving, but the selection process is highly competitive, Ken Towry said.
The Towrys, who write Community Development Block grants for Escambia County, are preparing to apply for a $400,000 grant, for which the county will pay the in-kind match of $100,000. The federal Housing and Urban Development money is funded through ADECA.
Ken Towry said he is still riding the roads and getting house counts to submit in the application, and there is no guarantee the county will get approved for the funding.
The complete list will not be available until the Towrys have driven all of the roads and deemed, in their opinion, which ones will qualify.
&#8220It's a competitive process,” Susan Towry said. &#8220We don't know we will get approved.”
Funding will be announced in August. If Escambia County is approved, paving is estimated to begin near Thanksgiving, and certain conditions could exist that would push back the start date.
Conditions include the moving of utilities, prepping roads, acquiring right-of-ways, if needed.
Certain conditions take up a large majority of the funds. For example, the Big Juniper Creek project was estimated to cost $400,000 and didn't exceed 300 feet. Of that, at least $60,000 was used to move the gas line.
According to County Engineer Bill Bridges, there are state specifications the county must follow to pave roads.
Determining roads will be paved is not the decision of county commissioners.
The CDBG program provides annual grants to entitled cities, urban counties and states in an effort to develop viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment.
It also allows for the expansion of economic opportunities, primarily for low and moderate-income persons in areas no less than 50 percent of low to moderate income.
The higher the percentage, the more competitive and likely the application will get funded.
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