Towns to use grant funds for fire service, roads

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 26, 2003

Christmas has come early this year for two Concordia Parish towns &045;&045; in the form of thousands of dollars in rural development grants.

Earlier this week, Vidalia received $25,000 in funds from the Office of Rural Development.

Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland and the city will use the money to help buy a new garbage truck.

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Copeland said the trucks need replacing about every three years because of the mileage put on them, &uot;so it’s something we sorely need.&uot;

Vidalia gets the grant nearly every year and usually uses it to purchase city equipment.

&uot;It’s very important,&uot; Copeland said. &uot;It helps us tremendously.&uot;

Clayton has also received $15,000 from Rural Development, with that money being used to repair streets, according to the office of state Rep. Bryant Hammett, D-Ferriday.

Then again, it’s been a good year for all of Concordia Parish’s towns when it comes to receiving government funds.

In January, Ferriday received $25,000 from the Governor’s Office of Rural Development to improve its water plant.

Also in January, Ridgecrest received $15,000 in rural development grants.

Both Ridgecrest and Clayton’s volunteer fire department received grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency this year.

Clayton’s $112,500 award, given in June, was used to buy a new firefighting vehicle.

In Ridgecrest, a $27,223 award will be used to buy safety equipment including air packs, hoses and extra gear.

&uot;We needed it very badly,&uot; said Lynn Delaney, chief of the Ridgecrest Fire Department.

&uot;We strictly go on donations and grants to survive at our station. Every time you get anything it has to come from that source. We depend on it.&uot;

But Delaney said even though his station received the money, the whole parish will benefit from the equipment. The Ridgecrest department assists Ferriday with its fire calls and vice versa, Delaney said.

&uot;This equipment not only benefits Ferriday but the surrounding area. We all kind of link in with one another,&uot; he said.