MARIETTA, OK - Several communities in Southern Oklahoma will now be able to make much needed upgrades to everything from fire hydrants to wastewater treatment plants thanks some grant money handed out last week. Dara Downs has more.
State Senator Frank Simpson and State Representative Tommy Hardin announced last week that 12 communities throughout Love, Carter, and Murray counties would receive thousands of dollars in Rural Economic Action Program or REAP grants. money that will help develop and improve life in Southern Oklahoma.
Of the more than $250,000 in REAP grants handed out by the Southern Oklahoma Development Association last week, most of the money will go to updating water systems in Healdton, Davis, and Marietta, where Public Works Superintendent Layton Shurbet says they've spent over $30,000 in the past year updating the wastewater treatment plant.
"We spent a lot of money down here replacing this thing in the last couple of years. At its age and getting there and we're finally getting to where we we can try to replace something. We have to. We've got no choice. That's where it's getting to now," Shurbet says.
Marietta Public Works was awarded $50,000, which Shurbet says will be used to replace a rotted clarifier that's over 30 years old.
"It's going to help because it's causing a problem with the top rotting out like it is. It should benefit the clarifier quite a bit."
Carter County also received a grant to update and install three new warning sirens in rural parts of the county, something Senator Frank Simpson says is very important, given the prevalence of tornadoes in Southern Oklahoma.
"The better able we are to warn citizens and provide citizens, significant warning a head of time, the better able we are to help save lives. These sirens and upgrading the siren system in Carter County is going to help us be able to do exactly that," Sen. Simpson says.
Simpson says REAP grants are only awarded to cities or communities with less than 7,000 people, and they're meant to lend a helping hand especially during hard economic times.
"It feels good to be able to offer or be instrumental in achieving or getting funding for these small towns so that they can do some things they normally would not be able to afford to do."
REAP grants are awarded at the beginning of every year. If you want to see if your city qualifies check the link below.