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County to apply for state road repair grant

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal

The Lowndes County Commission hopes to be in line for state funds to improve minor collector roads in the county and has approved a United States Department of Agriculture grant/loan combination to help the Sheriff’s Department to get five new patrol cars if the Sheriff’s Department can make the payments in its budget.

In a special meeting held Wednesday, March 7, the commission voted to include the following roads for consideration in the state’s proposed bond issue program for road and bridge repair:

County Road 79; County Road 75; County Road 63; County Road 12: from Dallas County Line to Middleton Cut-off Road; County Road 12: from County Road 9 to intersection of County Road 17; County Road 12: from County Road 17 to the intersection of Alabama Highway 21; County Road 23; County Road 37: from U.S. Highway 80 to the intersection of County Road 54; County Road 54: from County Road 40 to the Montgomery County Line; and Fredrick Douglas Road.

The application includes about 27 total miles of road.

County Engineer David Butts said the list of roads should be driven by economic development, existing industry and the grade received by roads on the system. He also called it an opportunity to get “minor collector roads” paved and resurfaced.

He said the annual $500,000 the county gets would be restricted to a major collector road.

Butts said the 20 percent matching funds for the projects approved by the commission on March 7 did not have to come entirely from public funds but could include industry/private sector funds.

The commission also approved a $195,000 total loan/grant for the sheriff’s department to purchase five new patrol cars pending the Sheriff’s Department’s ability to make the five-year payments of $32,344 in its budget.

Some $50,000 of the amount would be in the form of a USDA grant and $145,000 in a USDA Loan.