Grant funds could be delayed

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 2, 2000

FERRIDAY, La. – The Macon Ridge Economic Development Region may not receive funds from a $82,003 federal technology grant until February, said Patrick Landers, MIS/IT director for Macon Ridge.

&uot;Right now, we’re in the process of reviewing legal documents and trying to get the paperwork finished – and that paperwork’s about the size of a novel,&uot;&160;Landers said.

Individuals and businesses from three parishes will be able to teleconference and take long-distance college courses at reduced cost using high-tech equipment that will be bought with the grant.

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With the money, Macon Ridge will buy the equipment necessary to provide long-distance, interactive college lectures at its Ferriday headquarters.

Businesses will also be able to arrange to hold long-distance conferences with other companies via the system.

Macon Ridge will match that grant with $61,000 of its own funds.

The Ferriday-based economic development organization is also applying for a $10,000 grant for the same project from a Maryland foundation called Progressive Technologies.

&uot;We should know after Dec. 10 whether we’ve got that grant,&uot; Landers said.

&uot;It would be used to help purchase the equipment that would allow us to offer long-distance college courses&uot; from the University of Louisiana at Monroe and Louisiana Tech, he added.

The Boys and Girls Club to be located in the old Florida Street Gym building and the United Hands Youth Center on U.S. 84 will also be equipped with distance learning – and with Internet access that will be free to the public.

That will help youth, and the public at large, gain needed computer skills, Kevin Bridgewater, director of the Boys and Girls Club of the Delta, has said.