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Governor Gregoire Announces Community Development Awards to Okanogan, South Bend

For Immediate Release: August 14, 2006

Okanogan County, city of Okanogan and South Bend to receive $2.4 million

OLYMPIA – Governor Chris Gregoire today announced that Okanogan County, the city of Okanogan and the city of South Bend have been awarded community development grants from the Washington Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. The grants will support local grassroots efforts to develop and improve community resources.

“Supporting grassroots projects is a smart and effective way to help rural communities provide vital services to some of their vulnerable and low-income citizens,” said Governor Gregoire.

The city of South Bend will use their $1,000,000 grant to construct three drinking water reservoirs that will benefit all 1,775 residents. The steel, glass-lined, bolted reservoirs will correct a high public health risk and resolve issues identified in the city’s Operating Permit under a Department of Health Agreed Order.

Total cost for the reservoirs is approximately $2,890,000. The city has pending applications with the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Program and Public Works Trust Fund Pre-Construction Program. South Bend will also receive technical assistance through the Small Communities Initiative Program. The Small Communities Initiative is a collaborative effort between the state Departments of Ecology, Health, and Community, Trade and Economic Development to assist small, rural communities in upgrading their wastewater or drinking water systems.

Okanogan County received three awards totaling $1,036,711. A grant for $558,000 was awarded to provide loan capital for new and expanding businesses throughout the county. Participating businesses will make jobs available to job seekers with low to moderate incomes. The revolving loan fund program, managed by the North Central Washington Business Loan Fund, will leverage additional loan capital from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Intermediary Relending Program.

A grant $343,875 will be used to rehabilitate at least 13 owner-occupied housing units and make emergency repairs to ten additional units. The total project cost is $525,573. The Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development’s (CTED) Housing Repair and Rehabilitation Program will contribute $38,138, CTED's Housing Finance Unit will contribute $42,862 and $100,698 will come from a combination of private, state and federal weatherization programs. The Okanogan County Community Action Council is the sub-recipient for this grant, as well as for a $134,836 award to provide services to food bank clients, support for a new county homeless shelter, educational assistance to low-income clients and activities to increase awareness of public service programs for low-income individuals. The project will also receive $60,582 from CTED's Community Services Block Grant program.

The city of Okanogan received a $350,000 grant to improve the quality of the city’s drinking water by constructing a building to house an arsenic removal and coagulation filtration system. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will pay for installation of the filtration system. This project represents a partnership between the city, EPA and the CDBG program to assist the city with required water system improvements and help EPA evaluate different methods of arsenic removal. Arsenic is widespread throughout Okanogan County, due to natural causes and pesticide use. Total project cost is $701,000. Other funding sources are committed and include $326,000 from the Environmental Protection Agency and $25,000 from the city.

The CDBG program distributes federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which are used to benefit primarily low to moderate income people. Since Washington began operating the CDBG program in 1982, more than $350 million has been distributed to jurisdictions, representing over 1,000-community development projects.

The CDBG program, which serves 33 of Washington’s counties, supports local leadership and grassroots efforts to address a wide range of prioritized needs. CDBG grants help finance the construction of water, sewer, transportation and other local infrastructure, community facilities such as health centers and childcare centers, housing rehabilitation projects for low-income households, loans and technical assistance to local micro-enterprises, public service grants and the development of plans and studies aimed at enhancing the success of future projects.

The Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development is the lead state agency charged with enhancing and promoting sustainable communities and economic vitality in Washington. For more information on the Community Development Block Grant program, please visit www.cted.wa.gov/cdbg.

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