Thursday, July 31, 2014

Who gets the stimulus money?

By VICKIE MOSS, Herald Public Affairs Editor | 11/10/2009

From help with rent to energy savings, from law enforcement to water systems to roads, local communities are benefiting from the federal stimulus.

Many local projects — totaling more than $12 million — got a boost from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

From help with rent to energy savings, from law enforcement to water systems to roads, local communities are benefiting from the federal stimulus.

Many local projects — totaling more than $12 million — got a boost from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Social services

The East Central Kansas Area Economic Corp., known as ECKAN, received the bulk of stimulus money. The agency is based in Ottawa but serves more than seven counties, so not all of the stimulus funds actually will be spent in Franklin County.

Most of the agency’s award, more than $6 million, will help families across seven counties make their homes more energy efficient. That will be part of ECKAN’s weatherization program.

The money also will help ECKAN’s clients with rental assistance and other types of assistance to help people find a job or keep a job, Richard Jackson, ECKAN’s chief executive officer, said.

Local low-income housing entities like Cedar Square Apartments, Pine Manor and Sunflower Plaza, also received stimulus money to help with rental assistance.

The East Central Kansas Area Agency on Aging also received more than $32,000 in stimulus money.

Education

All schools in Kansas benefited from stimulus money, although the funds only helped offset a difficult state budget.

Amid fears schools would be forced to take drastic action to make up for a budget shortfall, the stimulus money allowed schools a little breathing room — at least until next year.

The Ottawa School District, for instance, received almost $1.6 million.

The West Franklin District netted $340,263, Wellsville received $303,249 and Central Heights got $284,919.

Ottawa University also received more than $34,000 in stimulus money for a federal work-study program for students.

Public works

A significant amount of money also came to local communities for water projects.

The City of Ottawa received $1.8 million for a new storage tank for clean water, called a clearwell, at its water treatment plant.

It’s the city’s second clearwell and will provide additional reliability, Jim Bradley, utilities director for the City of Ottawa, said.

Rantoul and Williamsburg were among 44 Kansas communities to receive federal Community Development Block Grants that included stimulus money.

Rantoul was awarded $352,000 to construct a new sewer lagoon and remove sludge from two existing wells.

Williamsburg was awarded $499,976 for improvement to the city’s water system, including work on the water tower and replacing some cast iron water lines.

The City of Garnett will receive $1.1 million to install its new raw waterline from the Cedar Valley Reservoir to its water treatment plant. It is expected to improve water quality and allow the city to provide water to surrounding communities.

Roads and trails

Resurfacing John Brown Road between Kentucky and Florida roads was approved for $504,000 in stimulus money. The five-mile stretch will receive a 2-inch overlay.

Stimulus money also will light the way for solar lights along the Prairie Spirit Rail Trail.

The City of Ottawa will install about 50 solar-powered lights on the trail between Fifth and 23rd streets. The project is expected to cost about $155,000.

Midland Railway, which runs from Baldwin City to Ottawa, will be funded nearly $300,000 for rehabilitation of six timber railroad trestles between Montana and Pawnee roads in Franklin County.

Law enforcement

Federal stimulus money also will make law enforcement officers a little more mobile this year. A $379,998 grant from the federal Recovery Act Rural Law Enforcement Assistance program will help provide mobile terminals in patrol cars in early 2010.

It’s part of a program that began about three years ago to update the records management system for law enforcement agencies in Franklin County, Sheriff Craig Davis said.

The system lets those agencies — including the sheriff’s department and the Ottawa and Wellsville police departments — work together to share records and improve technology and services.

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