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Council agrees to partner with county and JDA on street project

The Cairo City Council agreed Monday night to partner with the Grady County Commission and the Grady County Joint Development Authority to make an improvement to a city street/county road that could be key to future economic development recruitment.
Local officials are seeking to finance a major rehabilitation of 20th Street S.E., which is a major thoroughfare used by Woodhaven Industries, Milestone Industrial Park tenants and area residents.
Last week, the JDA and county commission agreed to commit funding toward the project.
The JDA has pledged $25,000 and the county commission agreed to appropriate $31,252.50.
The city’s share of the project is estimated to be $43,747.50 with the total cost projected to be $457,104.
According to Grady County Administrator Carlos Tobar, the community has been encouraged to apply for grant funding from the Georgia Department of Transportation to cover the bulk of the project cost.
“We are pleading poverty,” Tobar said this week.
The county administrator requested consulting engineer Stacy Watkins to develop a cost estimate for the project of which $5,713.80 would be added as engineering and contract administration if the project moves forward. Watkins did not charge the local governments anything to prepare the estimate, according to Tobar.
“I don’t have a problem committing this money but I have doubts the state will fund it at this level. Whether or not we get the grant or not the project needs to be done and I’d like to know if we have enough in SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax proceeds) to do our portion of the whole project,” Councilman James H. (Jimmy) Douglas asked City Manager Chris Addleton Monday night.
The city manager said he hoped to get some level of funding from the state and depending on that he assumed the city would have enough sales tax proceeds to cover its share of the project cost.
Addleton said the city should have up to $100,000 it could put toward the project.
“My question would be is this the greatest need for those funds?” Councilman Kermit Gilliard asked.
“I guess it would depend on who you ask,” Councilman Douglas responded.
The city manager said the condition of the street, which extends out into unincorporated Grady County, will only continue to deteriorate.
“Unfortunately, we can’t just resurface it. It needs a full depth reclamation,” Addleton said due to the amount of heavy truck traffic traveling on the road.
Councilman Douglas asked if any curb and gutters were included in the project scope, and Addleton said no. The plan does call for the street to be widened.
With the council’s approval to commit funds to the project, the county will make application to the DOT for grant assistance.

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