The town received a Community Development Block Grant for $439,140 through the Mississippi Development Authority’s Small Government Public Facilities funds, said Mayor Allen Gray. He credited work of state Sen. Bill Stone and state Rep. Steve Massengill for their efforts in garnering the grant.
“We sincerely appreciate their help,” Gray said. “Both Sen. Stone and Rep. Massengill were instrumental in obtaining these funds for the town.”
The grant extends the water system upgrade begun in 2010, when about 60 customers were added along Highway 2 in Benton County, said grant coordinator Jack Griffith. The area of new services includes residents along Bankhead Highway, McNeal Lane and connecting roads, where residents are currently using private wells as a sole source of drinking water.
“Through this application for funding, the town of Hickory Flat has demonstrated local commitment in addressing the community development needs of Mississippi,” Gov. Phil Bryant said in his letter awarding the grant. “I commend you for this initiative and for helping to improve the quality of life in your community.”
The grant also includes funds to install a radio based communication system that automatically operates the town’s wells and will provide a continuous supply of water particularly during periods of peak demand, Griffith said.
“We’re planning to get the bid advertising done by the end of this month or early December,” Griffith said. “After bids are opened about 30 days later, construction could potentially begin within a couple of weeks and residents could expect to see new service by early next summer.”
Joyce Brock, Southern Advocate, contributed to this story.