Governor’s Community Projects of Excellence Awards

Jackson, Miss. (March 27, 2008) – Gray Swoope, Executive Director of the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA), presented the Governor’s Community Projects of Excellence Awards during a ceremony at the Woolfolk Building in downtown Jackson. The awards were presented to Mississippi communities that demonstrated exceptional use of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Home Investment Partnerships Program (HOME), Capital Improvements Revolving Loan Program (CAP), Emergency Shelters Grants Program (ESG) and Rural Impact funds over the last year. The funds are distributed through MDA’s Community Services Division.

“The federal and state funded projects recognized today represent the best of how Mississippi communities and organizations have wisely used these funds to benefit their citizens,” Governor Haley Barbour said. “I congratulate the recipients for their implishments.” This years’ winners include: Town of Belmont – Best CDBG ED (Economic Development); Town of Pelahatchie – Best Rural Impact; Tate County – Best CDBG (Public Facility); Holmes County – Best CDBG (Self-Help); City of Kosciusko – Best HOME (Homebuyer Assistance); Town of Renova – Best HOME (Homeowner Rehabilitation); Town of Monticello – Best CAP;
Best Emergency Shelter – The Guardian Shelter; Best CHDO (Community Housing Development Organization) – Mercy Housing and Human Development.

CDBG funds help local units of government realize their potential by providing the necessary funds to ensure adequate housing, basic community services, environmental quality and economic opportunities for their residents. HOME funds are provided to local communities to provide affordable housing, and they can be used improve housing situations in several ways, such as: Homeowner rehabilitation/reconstruction; new construction or substantial rehabilitation of multi-family rental units; assistance to homebuyers. CAP funds are provided to counties or municipalities to finance capital improvements such as water, sewer, industrial drainage and fire protection improvements, industrial access roads, construction of multipurpose facilities for tourism development and recreation improvements. ESG funds are designed to provide assistance to homeless individuals and families, and Rural Impact funds provide assistance to small rural communities. Types of assistance include: Construction, rehabilitation, wastewater systems and facilities and acquisition of property.

“These projects are outstanding examples of how these funds are intended to be used,” said Steve Hardin, MDA’s Community Services Division Director. “They met all of the criteria required to be considered for the awards, and that really made these projects stand out. It is wonderful to see city leaders and local governments take pride in their communities and take advantage of resources available to help improve quality of life.” To be considered for an award, the projects must be completed on time, within their original budgets and have a positive impact on the community.

“For Mississippi to compete for jobs, it is essential that we have strong, vibrant communities where people want to live. We are privileged to provide these funds that assist in community development and livability,” said Gray Swoope, MDA Executive Director. “These nine projects were chosen because they exemplify the types of projects for which this type funding was created. These communities had the vision to do something to better the quality of life in their areas and were genuinely interested in making a difference in the lives of their citizens.”

For more information about the funds provided through MDA’s Community Services Division, please visit www.mississippi.org.

About Mississippi Development Authority
Mississippi Development Authority is the State of Mississippi’s lead economic and community development agency. Nearly 300 employees are engaged in providing services to businesses, communities and workers in the state. While the agency is best known for its efforts to recruit new businesses to Mississippi, the Authority provides services to promote tourism, help communities improve their quality of place, help existing employers identify and meet opportunities and challenges and help workers improve their skills – all with the goal of improving the quality of life and economic well-being of Mississippians. For more information, visit MDA’s website at www.mississippi.org.

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