ES receives $200K grant from state

Thursday, October 31, 2019

By Samantha Jones

Gov. Asa Hutchinson presented grants totaling more than $8.8 million to 78 Arkansas communities and counties on Oct. 24, and Eureka Springs is getting a piece of the pie.

Eureka Springs Mayor Butch Berry accepted a $200,000 grant through the Arkansas Community and Economic Development Grant Program at the ceremony in Little Rock. In a press release, Berry's assistant Kim Stryker says the application for these general assistance funds was submitted through the Northwest Arkansas Economic Development. Berry said the funds will be used to repair the water line from the train depot to the wastewater plant.

That's a big deal, Berry said, because Eureka Springs is the wastewater plant's largest water consumer. The city buys water from the Carroll-Boone Water District.

"We have to pay our own water bill," Berry said, "and the city doesn't get a discount. We pay the same rate as anybody else."

That means water leaks can cause big problems for the city, Berry said, if they are not repaired. There is a large leak in the water line that will be repaired using the grant money, Berry said.

"We don't know where it's located. We know it's in that line somewhere," Berry said. "Once we can solve that and put in a new water line, that's going to help us reduce our water consumption."

It shouldn't take more than a year to finish the project, Berry said, once the plans are drawn up. Berry thanked everyone who helped make the grant possible, saying the Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District came through in a big way.

"This is a community development block grant and this is going to be the last year we're eligible for those grants," Berry said.

That's because a recent census showed less than 50 percent of Eureka Springs residents have a low to moderate income, Berry said. To qualify for the Community Development Block Grant Program, Berry said, more than 50 percent of a city's residents must have low to moderate income.

Berry encouraged residents to respond when they receive the census in the future.

"Please answer these surveys," Berry said. "They are all anonymous and they have an impact on how much money the city gets and whether or not we're eligible for grants."

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