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City applies for road construction funds
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Hinesville could receive more than $16 million for road improvements now that city officials have filed a last-minute application with the TIGER Discretionary Grant Program, City Manager Billy Edwards said Thursday at the city council’s regular meeting.
The deadline for the program was Tuesday, the second of a two-day visit by Mayor Jim Thomas and Edwards to Washington, D.C. The men went to the capital to meet with the chairman of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to learn what types of funding might be available for Hinesville and Liberty County.
Upon finding out about the TIGER program, Edwards said, they worked together with Community Development Department staff member Donita Gaulden to complete the application and file it before the deadline.
The money will come directly to the city if it is awarded, Edwards said. The funds would allow Hinesville to widen Frank Cochran Drive toward Fort Stewart, among other area projects.
In Edwards’ report to the council he also mentioned visiting with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to discuss the city’s request for putting a VA clinic in Hinesville. “Our request is on [VA Secretary Eric] Shinseki’s desk, waiting to be signed,” Edwards said.
Approval of the request is expected within two or three weeks, at which time the city will request letters of intent to develop a facility that would house the clinic as well as a local branch of the Georgia Department of Veterans Services.
“We think we’ll get more bang for the buck if we were to co-locate,” Thomas said.
Together with the Hospital Authority of Liberty County, the city would first construct a temporary facility to house the two operations while a permanent structure is completed.
In other council news, members agreed to discuss the feasibility of amending an ordinance that prohibits solicitation of drivers for money, including for fundraising purposes. The decision comes after the council heard from Denise Register, a resource development coordinator for the American Red Cross.
The nonprofit agency hosts an annual bucket drive fundraiser to help offset the costs of providing emergency services to area residents, but the current ordinance prevents Red Cross volunteers from taking to the streets to ask drivers for donations. According to Register, in 2008 the Red Cross spent $17,000 to assist Hinesville residents.
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