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Lanett approves grant

LANETT — Lanett Mayor Kyle McCoy announced Monday that a $250,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) had been approved for the city.

The grant will allow for the completion of a streetscape project from the downtown area to the Georgia state line. The project has been completed on the west side of North Lanier Avenue. The final phase will see improvements on the east side of the street from the Tanyard Creek Bridge to Cherry Drive.

The work to be done will look similar to what’s been done so far with the wider sidewalks, benches, planter areas and decorative lamp posts. Something different will be the replacement of some existing wooden utility poles with some metal ones.

“We are real excited to have received final approval of this grant,” McCoy said. “We received a letter from Kenneth Boswell (director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs) on May 13 informing us that we had been approved. We are still in the running for a $180,000 Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant that would allow us to continue this along First Street. If it’s approved, it would put us over $1 million in grants on our downtown project. We will continue to go after every grant we can.”

The work to be done on First Street would start near Gwen’s Tax Service and run past the Lanett Housing Authority office near North 6th Avenue. On the south side of the street, the improvements would start near the First Christian Church and head one block toward Highway 29.

It’s the mayor’s goal to continue it in phases and to eventually have the streetscape look on First Street from Highway 29 on both sides of the street all the way to Eighth Avenue, which runs in front of W.O. Lance Elementary School.

“We could hear on the ARC grant in a few weeks,” McCoy said. “If we get both grants, we could combine them in one project and put it out for bids. If we are denied the ARC grant, we will bid the one project for North Lanier. We’d like to be able to have two projects in one bid. It’s cheaper in the long run to do it that way.”

Both grants are 80/20 matching grants with the federal government picking up 80 percent of the cost and the city 20 percent.

The mayor is looking at a Transportation Alternatives Project, or a TAP, grant to complete the work on First Street, possibly in fiscal year 2020-2021.

“That would finish our revitalization plan for downtown,” McCoy said. “I like to call it the Big T, with North Lanier heading north and First Street going east-to-west. Our city will look a lot prettier when we get all the work done. We want it to be an inviting place where people will want to come. I like the way it looks right now, but it’s going to look really good ten years from now. The trees we’ve planted will have time to grow and to have a canopied look as you go through downtown. I think this will be money well spent. I see it like this: if you don’t invest in your hometown no one else will. It takes a lot of hard work and commitment to see this through, but what I like most is working with people who have the betterment of Lanett at heart.”