September 5, 2002

Berkowitz Announces Grants To Be Awarded To First District

First District State Representative Sam Berkowitz (D-Memphis) announced on August 30 the awarding of several grants in his district aimed at improving access to public buildings and improving the transportation infrastructure of northeast Missouri.

Through the Community Development Block Grant Program, administered through the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Lewis County has received $314,800 and Clark County will be getting a $224,300 CDBG for county road bridge projects. The grants are part of more than $3 million worth of projects announced statewide last week by Governor Bob Holden.

The CDBG in Clark County will help replace 12 one-way bridges, all of which are at least 60 years old and pose significant threats to safety of motorists. The funding will pay for steel and concrete to replace the bridges with MoDOT approved 20-feet wide structures.

The CDBG applications were prepared by the Northeast Missouri Regional Planning Commission headquartered in Memphis.

The money comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The grants are awarded as the result of an annual competition in which smaller Missouri cities and rural communities apply for CDBG funds to address critical infrastructure needs.

Rep. Berkowitz hailed the work of the Clark County and Lewis County commissions in winning the grants that will pay for vital road projects in their counties.

"The problems with Missouri's roads don't end on our state highways," said Rep. Berkowitz. "Our county commissioners realize this and the Community Development Block Grant program is an important source of funds for improving our counties' transportation infrastructure."

In addition to the CDBG awards, two local counties have been awarded grants from the Americans with Disabilities Act for handicapped accessibility projects in their courthouses. The Lewis County Courthouse in Monticello will soon have an elevator thanks to a $217,300 grant from the ADA. Meanwhile Knox County has been awarded $85,000 for the installation of a chair lift for the courthouse in Edina.

"Access to all areas of public buildings is a basic right," said Rep. Berkowitz. "The projects in the Lewis and Knox County courthouses will ensure that all residents have equal access to all offices in those buildings."

The USDA awarded $16.5 million in Community Facilities Economic Impact Initiative Grants for more than 150 projects in economically distressed areas in 26 states. The Knox County Promotional Council received $9,000 for a new weather warning siren in Edina.

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