City reaping grants

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 14, 2005

NATCHEZ &8212; Less than 10 months after it hired a full-time grants coordinator, the city has gotten more than $240,000 in grants for everything from cleaning up illegal dumpsites to buying educational materials to teach children fire prevention.

In addition, it&8217;s waiting to hear the status of $164,000 worth of additional grant applications.

Grants Coordinator Brett Brinegar is working with the city&8217;s department heads to apply for more than $2.3 million more &8212; and after that, has three more projects on the horizon.

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It&8217;s all in a day&8217;s work for Brinegar, who started work in February &8212; but she&8217;s quick to say she&8217;s there as a resource for the city&8217;s department heads, and that teamwork is what successfully lands grants.

&8220;I&8217;ve enjoyed working with them,&8221; Brinegar said while looking up the city&8217;s latest grant numbers on her office computer. &8220;We work well together.&8221;

The city is waiting to hear final confirmation of an emergency Community Development Block Grant for $75,000 to reimburse the city for work done to shore up failed sewer truss supports.

If those supports had not been repaired, it could have meant interruption of sewer service to more than 3,000 households in north Natchez &8220;and possibly an environmental catastrophe that could have taken years to clean up,&8221; Brinegar said.

Grant applications on which Brinegar is now working with department heads and citizen groups and nonprofits include:

4$2.2 million for downtown and riverside walking trails.

4$75,000 to plan management of the U.S. 61 American Scenic Byway.

4About $15,000 to expand literacy education programs at the Senior Center.

4About $15,000 to establish an oral history project at the Senior Center.

4About $20,000 to clean more illegal dumpsites in wards 2 and 4.

And on the horizon, she&8217;s working with the city and county to reestablish a recycling program, with United Way and Catholic Charities to establish a food bank and with Catholic Charities to establish a program to help disadvantaged and minority women establish businesses.

&8220;I&8217;m pleased with the awards we&8217;ve gotten so far, but this is just the beginning, a base from which to work,&8221; Brinegar said.