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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • MRPC board reviews 2014 grant opportunities

  • Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) board members received information about a wide variety of grants available to assist their communities this year during the board’s March 13 meeting.
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  • Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) board members received information about a wide variety of grants available to assist their communities this year during the board’s March 13 meeting.
    MRPC Executive Director Bonnie Prigge gave the board an overview of Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) available.
    These grants are available to local governments—cities and counties—but local governments may also sponsor districts, such as fire protection districts, and non-profits to apply for the grants.
    The DED has approximately $1.75 million available for community facilities projects and $2 million for general infrastructure projects this year.
    General public infrastructure is a new funding category for 2014 and can fund projects such as bridges, roads, drainage and sidewalks.
    Other CDBG programs available this year include the industrial infrastructure program and Missouri rural economic opportunities infrastructure programs, both of which fund construction or improvements of public infrastructure that aids in the expansion of private industry and creates jobs.
    MRPC can assist communities interested in applying for these grants with grant writing as well as grant administration for funds awarded.
    The board also learned about loan packaging services now offered to banks through MRPC’s business loans department.
    MRPC Business Loan Specialist Tonya Price shared that staff has been packaging 7(a) Small Business Administration (SBA) loans for some time now and will be working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to offer packaging services for its business and industry loan program.
    Through this service, the professional loans staff at MRPC will assist area banks with the proper paperwork.
    In addition to taking the burden of additional paperwork off area bankers so they have more time for their clients, these two loan programs are designed to help banks finance projects they may otherwise turn down. Both programs provide banks with a guarantee should the loan fail.
    “If they can share the risk in that loan, it may make the bank able to say ‘yes’ to a project they would have said ‘no’ to,” Price said.
    In other business, the MRPC board approved a letter of support for the University of Missouri and Missouri University of Science and Technology to apply for a federal designation in the new investing community manufacturing program.
    If approved, the designation would encompass the entire Meramec region as well as other areas along Interstate 44. The designation would provide preference to those counties for federal programs and funding.

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