The Lowndes County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to abandon library construction in Crawford because of a lack of funding. However, supervisors will pursue grant money for a new fire station for the community.
District 4 Supervisor Jeff Smith said efforts to secure money for a new library were unsuccessful, and he asked supervisors to withdraw their letter of support.
“I realize we can’t fix all their problems,” Smith said.
Instead, he’d like support to build a new fire station. The existing one is two cramped bays with no bathroom or running water and lights that don’t work, he said.
News of Artesia’s fire station prompted Smith to consider one for Crawford.
A U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development grant is funding construction of a new fire station in Artesia. Three-fourths of the $250,000 project is being paid for through the USDA grant; Artesia contributed $63,500 and the USDA contributed $186,500.
District 1 Supervisor and Board President Harry Sanders asked County Engineer Bob Calvert if he could help prepare an application through Rural Development.
Calvert agreed, noting that Artesia got its grant because its application was on file when the USDA was looking for projects to appropriate at the end of the fiscal year.
“Here, it’s probably a several years’ wait,” Calvert said.
District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks said the Artesia station took three years from concept to construction. Artesia, a town in western Lowndes County with a population of about 440, according to the 2010 census, is in Brooks’ district. Crawford, a town south of Artesia with a population of about 641, is in Smith’s district.
Smith said it doesn’t make sense to build the new station on the site of the old one — as Artesia did — because the site is too small. The only place to get land without restrictions, he said, is the plot that contains the community center, which the Columbus-Lowndes Recreation Authority has charge of.
Supervisors agreed by consensus for Smith to move forward. Sanders suggested he encourage the town of Crawford to pursue a Rural Development grant, too.
In other matters,
- Supervisors approved two appointments to the Lowndes County Industrial Development Authority. Carl Williams from District 1 and Chris Herring from District 3 were reappointed to four-year terms beginning today. County Administrator Ralph Billingsley said they were the only applicants.
- Sheriff Mike Arledge is the newest member of the E911 board. Former Sheriff C.B. “Butch” Howard resigned from the 911 board at the end of his term. Billingsley said the term goes through Feb. 28, 2015, and Arledge was the only applicant.
- Supervisors added $4,296 to the sheriff’s budget from a cash donation by the U.S. Marshals Service for computer equipment. Arledge said two deputies with the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office are also deputized U.S. marshals. They primarily serve federal warrants. He said the new equipment will allow them access to the national law enforcement agency.
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