Residents consider how to spend grant

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 22, 2000

FERRIDAY, La. – Ten people attended a meeting held Thursday night in Ferriday to brainstorm ways a $1.2 million technology grant could be used by Concordia Parish.

The towns of Vidalia and Ferriday plan to apply for a state grant to be used to fund any program that uses technology to fight poverty.

A grant application has to be received by the Louisiana Office of Community Development by Jan. 31.

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Possible uses mentioned Thursday included using the money to fund mobile computer units or establish a venture capital company to refurbish computers.

&uot;That would also serve to teach people computer skills,&uot;&160;said Windell Millicks of the Macon Ridge Economic Development Region, who helped organize the meeting.

Another suggestion was to use grant money to conduct extensive research of the computer facilities the parish already has.

Those technological resources would then be listed on an Internet site, said economic development specialist Teresa Dennis, who is also working on the grant proposal.

&uot;But how many people would have access to that Web site?&uot; Dennis said.

Thursday’s meeting was held at Mount Olive Baptist Church. No one attended a similar hearing held Wednesday afternoon at Vidalia Town Hall.

On Nov. 29, almost 30 parish leaders gathered in Vidalia to brainstorm ways that money could be used, but meetings were held to get more public input before the proposal is written.

According to 1990 Census statistics, 30.6 percent of parish residents live at or below the poverty level.

In addition, almost 40 percent of Concordia Parish children live in poverty.