JUDGE: More grant money could be available for county
The American Rescue Plan Act provides a lot of fertile ground for more Milam County grant opportunities and rest assured we will take advantage of them all.
There are grant possibilities provided by the act, such as internet, grants for farmers markets, grants for tourism and numerous other opportunities. Recently, we were successful in obtaining a $4.7 million EDA grant for the county, the largest ever and we will continue with this endeavor.
The number one grant priority will be for better broadband service. We recently partnered with Connected Nation Texas to assess our broad band situation in the County and the preliminary report should be completed by April 12, 2021. We will use the report as our foundation for our internet grant application.
We estimate 100 MB download and 10 MB upload speed in the county to cost between $5-7 million. Should we be successful with our grant request, we will bid the project and then select the contractor. The whole process should take about three years.
Another opportunity is for a countywide farmers market. For years we have tried to have a farmers’ market in the county, with only limited success. We need a full-time person to administer the market, obtain regular vendors and buyers. We need to advertise and we need the right place for the market. The act provides grant opportunities for all of these necessities.
A third possibility is countywide tourism. For years we have talked about the rich history of Milam County. We have talked about having tourist come to the County to see its history and beauty, including the Old Town Cameron display, the Rockdale Train Museum and the Milam County Museum. We have talked about tours of the County including Sugarloaf Mountain, the El Camino Real, the San Xavier Missions and Fort Nashville. In order to make this a reality, we need a full time person to administer tourism, money to advertise and do all of the everyday things necessary to attract people to the county. The act provides grant possibilities for these needed items and we will certainly apply.
There are numerous other grant opportunities and we will apply and take advantage of every one that makes sense. We want Milam County to be a better place to live and work and improving our infrastructure and economy is a huge step in the right direction.