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Commissioners continue to mull plans for shelter

After a group of interested citizens contacted Grady County Commissioner T.D. David about previous commission discussions centering around the idea of converting the Grady County Agri-Center to serve dually as an emergency shelter, David broached the subject with the full board again Tuesday night.
“I had a group of citizens ask me about it and they showed me an article from The Cairo Messenger where it was discussed previously. Whatever was done and what was the outcome,” David asked Grady County Administrator Rusty Moye.
Moye explained that the original idea was to apply for a federal Community Development Block Grant to install the necessary bath and kitchen facilities to make the Agri-Center suitable to serve as an emergency shelter.
“The word we got back from the Regional Commission was that CDBG funds could not be used to renovate an existing facility,” Moye said.
The administrator acknowledged he had not brought the issue back to the full board since that initial discussion.
Moye said the project would also likely cost more than the funds a CDBG grant would provide.
The administrator also pointed out that a major consideration when applying for CDBG grants is the impact the project has on low to moderate income citizens within the community.
“The folks at the Regional Commission said we would have to conduct a community assessment,” Moye said.
Commissioner Al Ball, who first proposed the idea, said that the citizens who would require emergency shelter were more likely to be citizens with middle to lower incomes.
Ball also noted that his term ends December 31 and any future talks could come after he was gone, but that his proposal was to create an emergency shelter and not a homeless shelter or a temporary housing facility.
“This would be an emergency shelter,” Ball said.
“I would hate to see the issue die completely. If there is some way to provide an emergency shelter and restore the Agri-Center at the same time I would like to pursue it,” Commissioner David said.
Commissioner Charles Norton, who opposes a homeless shelter or temporary housing shelter, said he would be in favor of discussing the possibility of establishing a true emergency shelter here.
“We need to talk about it a little while,” Norton said.
“Just so we can keep it alive and see what might can be done,” David agreed.

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