Tyler County Awarded Grants for Projects
Tyler County was recently awarded grant funds for two major projects. County representatives were present in Charleston Friday, Feb. 2 for the presentation of these funds.
Funds in the amount of $1,066,000 were presented for the current water service extension project.
This project will provide new water service to 43 households and impact service for Boreman Elementary School and the Tyler County 4-H Camp. The BPH reports the area suffers erratic water supply, including dry wells during summer months and wells with poor water quality. The engineer advises the preliminary design is complete. USDA has approved their funding in the project and the completed environmental report.
The water service will be provided by the Tyler County Public Service District by connecting new lines to the PSD’s existing system.
This is a major portion of the funding needed to complete a planned three-phase project to deliver water along Rt. 18 from just south of Middlebourne to the Alma area. Because of the cost of the entire project, the consulting engineers suggested the funding be applied for in phases. This phase will also allow the extension of PSD water service to the Clark Ridge area near Sistersville, as well as a water service extension of approximately one mile beyond the Friendly Hill area.
This was the second year an application was submitted for the project.
Having Boreman Elementary included, along with forty-three households, helped make the first phase more urgent for funding.
“Perhaps the most important difference between last year’s application and this year is the fact that USDA Rural Development formally pledged $ 854,000 to the project. That made the project far more attractive for a Community Development Block Grant,” stated Eric Peters, Executive Director of the Tyler County Development Authority.
“The need for extending public water service to these project areas, particularly Rt. 18 South, has been a topic of discussion by the Tyler County Planning Commission and the Tyler County Development Authority for years.
It should be mentioned that the late Sam George, in his role as a Planning Commission and Development Authority board member, was a driving force in getting this project prioritized. Plus, he and other volunteers performed much of the leg work, going door to door to gather information necessary for the funding applications.”
The Tyler County PSD board and management, the county Planning Commission, the Development Authority and the Tyler County Commission cooperated very well to bring this project about.
“For the PSD board, in particular, to be willing to take on this major project, speaks a great deal of their commitment to serving our county,” added Peters.
Funds in the amount of $30,000 were also awarded to Tyler County. This will help with broadband expansion.
The Tyler County Commission has identified broadband internet service as the county’s top non-water and -sewer utility project. The growth of Tyler County and its potential for further success through educational and economic avenues is very dependent on broadband internet service. This broadband study will map the direction the county needs to take to achieve these goals.
The Tyler County Development Authority (TCDA) has long understood the importance of broadband internet expansion to the county’s economic growth and diversification.
“With the decision by the WV Development Office to make broadband public infrastructure and planning eligible for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, the opportunity for a county initiative became much more achievable,” stated Executive Director Peters
In response to interest from several county residents, and as a result that grant funds can now be secured, a proposal was made to the county commission by the TCDA. The TCDA would take the lead in applying for block grant funds dedicated to planning for the possible establishment of a broadband cooperative to enhance internet service for businesses and homes throughout the county.
As only county commissions and city governments are eligible for CDBG funding, it was required that the Tyler County Commission be the lead applicant for the grant. As a subdivision of the county commission, the TCDA will administer the grant project.
“Broadband internet service has become a vital part of any community’s infrastructure. Its availability opens up so many economic development opportunities. Businesses based on services and information provided on-line can operate from almost anywhere. We don’t need flat land or proximity to a city for determined entrepreneurs to do business world-wide. They just need the ability to connect to broadband internet,” stated Peters
“I want to emphasize that the professional assistance provided by the community development staff at the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Council was instrumental to our county receiving both of these grants. They deserve much thanks for their hard work and expertise.”