Staunton Town Hall served as a meeting place for two public hearings Monday night, which would offer the town strong financial support for both past and future disasters.
Shannon McLeod, a grant writer for Priority Project Recourses presented the Town Board with two project proposal applications from the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA). They were entitled Disaster Recovery Appropriation I and II.
The first application was for the town to receive an additional $1,440 in aid from floods that ravaged the area one year ago last week. The town already received $3,641.25 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which agreed to cover 75 percent of damages incurred by the city. The new money, if awarded, would cover what McLeod called "out-of-pocket expenses," the town faced in repairs.
The application to receive the money is due by the end of the month, but McLeod said she hoped to have it written and sent off to OCRA by the end of the week.
Disaster Recovery Appropriation II was a much larger grant, a $1 million project that goes toward full-scale drainage improvements. The project would involve no out-of-pocket expense and no new land acquisition.
The board was given a map showing the pipes would run in a curved pattern throughout Staunton, While it did not hit every area in town, McLeod said it would connect to "all major arteries." The $1 million would cover construction, engineering fees and the meeting of all environmental standards.
According to McLeod, OCRA has $19 million to grant to those they see fit to receive aid. She said it was hard to gage the likelyhood of Staunton being awarded the grant due to unspecified numbers of how many applicants were gunning for the available spots. She did, however, specify that due to the size of the grant, it would be wise for the town to pursue it with great ferocity.
"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity," McLeod said. "This would be a huge impact for the community. I'm not going to guarantee anything, but if you don't ask, you won't receive."
During the meeting, McLeod said this grant was due by Friday. However, Clerk-Treasuer Cathy Mienheartt said the contract deadline had been extended to July 26. Final awards are expected to be announced on July 31. If the grant is received, design is expected to begin in September, with bids opening in February of next year. Construction is then expected to begin in March. The board anticipated the process would take one year.
Following the meeting, it was announced the town had received their long desired grant to begin construction on a Community Center. Mienheartt said they would be awarded the money on July 13, in a ceremony conducted at the State House in Indianapolis. The ceremony is to be conducted at 1 p.m. Mienheartt said she was at this time unaware of how much money Staunton would receive for the project.