Crawford announces major HUD grant in Jonesboro

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Nearly three million dollars will be utilized by the East Arkansas Planning and Development District to plan the future.

Today in Jonesboro a Two Point Six Million dollar check from HUD was handed over to start the planning process in the delta.

Jobs, housing, utilities, transportation, and "Greening", are just some to the areas this grant will be used to help develop the delta.

"It is my privilege to announce today that the East Arkansas Planning and Developing District has received a 2.6 million dollar grant from HUD to complete a regional sustainability plan."

Said First District Congressman Rick Crawford as he gave the good news to a packed house Monday morning.

Regional HUD Administrator C. Donald Babers brought the big check and said the delta counties will now have a tool to plan for the future.

Babers, "When we talk about jobs, transportation and housing, and then the "greening" all of that coming together."

The funds will be used to start up and develop an East Arkansas Regional Planning Consortium Sustainability Plan. The group of partners will look at a variety of topics.

Melissa Rivers, the Executive Director at AEPDD said the plans will cover a wide range. "Identifying where our gaps are and then putting plans together to address those gaps..

Rivers goes on to say that, "Studies will address access to basic needs such as water and energy. Do they have adequate access to shopping and commerce? Do they have adequate access to health care. Do they have adequate access to school?"

Corning Mayor Dewayne Phelan said he new they had applied for the grant but had not made any moves on a study until he found out for sure the grant had been given. Phelan says he will now start forming a planning committee to look at what his community needs.

"I think education and jobs are the most important things." Phelan said.

This grant for Northeast Arkansas is only one of 56 given out this year. Congressman Crawford says this is a real shot in the arm for the state.

Crawford, "We're doing some things right here in Northeast Arkansas and it's going to help facilitate even greater things for Northeast Arkansas and this is a great day."

Over 500 million dollars in grant proposals were submitted for the 96 million dollar fund availability.

To find out who got grants and who the partners for the grants will be you can check on the HUD link on the right side of the screen.

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