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Third Time’s a Charm... Carthage Lands Grant
May 16, 2007 - After striking out in two earlier, unsuccessful bids, the town of Carthage hit a homerun with its third application for a half-million dollar grant to help pay for major improvement's to the town's water system. Town officials learned last Friday that Carthage is one of 26 Indiana communities that beat out 42 others for Community Focus Fund grants from the state's Office of Community and Rural Affairs. According to a press release issued by OCRA, Carthage and nine other communities will receive grants worth up to $525,000, with a total of $12,468,474 awarded this round.
"I think it's great news for the town," Carthage Clerk-Treasurer Linda McMahan told The Banner Tuesday morning. "I think it will be really beneficial for us."
The CFF grant will be combined with other funding the town hopes to secure from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's Rural Development Office to pay for a major overhaul to the town's water system. Anticipated improvements will include new wells, a new 150,000-gallon water tank, a new water treatment facility and installation of some new mains.
With planning for the water improvement project beginning when she first joined the council in 2000, she said she was pleased the town was finally getting the money needed to move forward. Henderson said the water improvement project will benefit the town and its people greatly. "I think that we're going to have safer water," she said.
Last June and again last fall, OCRA passed on Carthage's first two applications for a CFF grant. OCRA representatives met with town officials and the town's grant writers several times after the second denial, providing suggestions on how ways the town could improve its third application. Apparently, this advice paid off.
According to OCRA’s Chris Dorman, the application Carthage submitted in March for this round of grants scored 818 out of 1,000 points possible, just 72 points less than the highest scoring applicant. By contrast, Carthage only scored 688 points out of 1,000 on the application OCRA turned down last fall. Council President Rick Bush told The Banner he gives much of the credit for the success on the most recent application to the town council. After the town's grant writers failed in their first two attempts, Bush said the council's oversight and involvement in drafting the third application made a difference.
While the grant sought by Carthage was supposed to be for $500,000, the town could end up getting an additional five percent, bringing the total to $525,000. According to the OCRA's Dorman, if the town uses "minority business enterprises" to do at least 10 percent of the water improvement project, it becomes eligible to receive the additional $25,000.
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