March 11, 2004

Community Action Agency Seeking CDBG ‘Head Start’ for New Building

The joint effort by several local agencies could help land Memphis a new Head Start building. The Northeast Missouri Community Action Agency (NMCAA) is seeking a $300,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to help fund the proposed construction project.

The Northeast Missouri Regional Planning Commission is preparing the grant application in conjunction with the Scotland County Commission.

Regional planning director David Shoush discussed the project at the March 4 meeting of the Memphis City Council when he asked the city to sign off on the proposal.

“Obviously this would be a very good improvement for the City of Memphis,” Shoush said. “It definitely would be a positive for the community to have a new Head Start building.”

Shoush stated the plan calls for the regional planning commission to sell a 432 x 198 foot lot north of the commission’s building for the new Head Start site.

“Basically this is a win-win for all of us involved,” Shoush said. “We have been unable to utilize the land and frankly this sale will eliminate the maintenance and upkeep costs while providing the Head Start an economical purchase price.”

The NMCAA will also pursue a $190,000 loan from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help fund the project.

The initial design calls for the construction of a 4,800 square foot facility at an estimated cost of $384,000 as well as a 28,000 square foot parking lot at the cost of $112,000 for a total estimated project cost of $496,000.

The CBDG application is due March 15. Shoush said the best case scenario would have the group receiving notification on the grant application this fall. If approved for funding, design and bid work could be done over the winter with construction set to go in 2005 if all the pieces fell into place.

In addition to the construction funding, a Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) application is in the works to provide funding for the necessary infrastructure improvements near the proposed construction site. If approved, RBEG funding could pay for improved street access, fire hydrants and curb and guttering.

“Basically we’ll have to take this step by step,” Shoush said. First we have to see if the CDBG and the USDA loan are approved, then we can go after the RBEG to help fund the finishing touches.”

Shoush discussed the access to the proposed site and questioned if the council would consider allowing a street to be constructed on the north side of the new Head Start building. He noted this would connect the area with Dial Court.

“This would alleviate a lot of traffic congestion in that area,” stated Mayor Ron Alexander.

Street Superintendent Roy Monroe noted the proposed street would be a big benefit to the facility as well, providing the best access to the school building.

Shoush also noted a less expensive alternative, if the RBEG grant did not happen, would be to change Johnson street from one-way and open it to through traffic from both directions.

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