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by Patty Cheffey
Douglass community Services received a guarantee form the Marion County Commission they would use $500,000 of their American Rescue plan funds to help build a new facility for the program.
Approval was given during Monday’s meeting, at which they commissioners reviewed ARP funding regulations with the Mark Twain Regional Council of Government (MTRCG) and discussed a resolution supporting development at the old Hannibal hospital.
Stephanie Cooper with Douglass Community Services, was present at the meeting to update the commissioners on how the new building project came about and to request the funds.
After hiring Klingner and Associates to do an architectural study, it was discussed it would cost more to rehab the current building, the former Hannibal clinic on Grand Avenue, than the value of what they could get out of the facility, Cooper said.
Following further discussion and number crunching, it was decided the best course of action would be to put up a Morton building and tar down the existing facility at a cost of between $2.8 million and $3.1 million.
Cooper noted the group is applying for a $2 million Community Development Block Grant, but needed a guarantee of funds for the remaining amount before they could actually apply.
While they have raised around $100,000 and have received a $500,000 grant form the Department of Economic Development, they still needed another $500,000, and asked the county for that amount.
Cooper said she has started the process of asking other counties Douglass serves to kick in funds, but those counties believe that sine around 85 percent of the services are in Marion County, that county should pay.
She also noted she had approached the city of Hannibal to help since of that 85 percent, between 75 percent and 80 percent of the clients for food securities are in Hannibal. However, she was informed Hannibal had already earmarked their funds for their own projects.
Although commissions Larry Welch and Steve Begley said they would have liked to wait until Presiding Commissioner David Lomax could be present to vote, they went ahead and approved the funds when told the CDBG grant application could not be submitted until the $500,000 was guaranteed.
If funding is approved, Cooper said the new facility would be between an 8,000 and 9,000 square foot facility.
In other business the commissioners met with Allona Kizer with MTRCG, who informed them there are still no finalized criteria for using ARP funds.
However, she provided them with a list of expenditure categories and sub-categories for which funds would be approved.
• public health, especially anything COVID related;
• negative economic impacts, such as food programs, rent, mortgage and utility aid and assistance to unemployed workers;
• services to disproportionately impacted communities, such as early learning, child care and mental health services;
• premium pay such as private sector grants to other employees;
• infrastructure, such as clean water and drinking water projects and broadband expansion;
• revenue replacement; and
• administrative, such as expenses and evaluation and data analysis.
The commissioners noted they had already been contacted by two day cares as well as someone asking about rent assistance.
The commissioners also reviewed a request from Corey Mahaffey to sign a letter of support for development at the old Hannibal hospital, but tabled it until they could get more information.
Mike Schaefer, highway supervisor, reported the county had been black top work on County Road 266.