November 30, 2015

City of Winnsboro Bicycle Trail

The City of Winnsboro is excited about the completion of the city's new bicycle trail. The multi-purpose bicycle trail is for both bicycles and pedestrians to open up the residential communities for pedestrian traffic to the neighboring Franklin Parish High School. Of the cities in Louisiana with populations over 5,000, Winnsboro is ranked 1st in percentage of bicycle commuters and 15th in percentage of pedestrian commuters, so this new bicycle route will be used by both cyclists and pedestrians.

Meyer, Meyer, LaCroix & Hixson, Inc. (MML&H) designed the trail which has improved the fitness and exercise options in this area by providing residents of the surrounding neighborhoods with a safe place to walk, jog, and bike. This trail has also allowed children to walk or bike to school safely as a healthy alternative.

The City of Winnsboro received grant funds from the FHWA Recreational Trails Program for Louisiana (RTPL). RTPL is a Federal-aid assistance program that provides funds for all kinds of recreational trail uses. RTPL is administered by the Louisiana Office of State Parks, Division of Outdoor Recreation and provides funding for recreational trails in both urban and rural areas throughout the state. This program provides 80% of required funds with the rest in local funds. Meyer, Meyer, LaCroix & Hixson, Inc. (MML&H) would be glad to help you plan your Recreational Trail project. 

November 10, 2015

USDA Announces Planning Grants

The United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development has announced a new round of planning grants. These grants will assist eligible communities in planning for water and wastewater projects. SEARCH grants (Special Assistance for Rural Communities and Households) provide grants for predevelopment planning for financially distressed rural communities, districts and non-profits with populations of 2,500 or less and are based on need. These planning grant funds can be used for feasibility studies, technical assistance, and design assistance for water and wastewater infrastructure needs. These grants may be issued for up to $30,000 and no matching funds are required.

A Predevelopment and Planning Grant (PPG) is another planning grant for the lesser of $25,000 or 75% of the project costs. Communities and water or wastewater districts (publicly and locally organized) are eligible if the median household income of the proposed area is either below the poverty line or below 80 percent of the statewide non-metropolitan median household income. The funds are to be used to develop a completed application for a proposed project. These costs can include the preliminary engineering design and models required to develop a plan for meeting the water and waste needs of the community or water district.

The application process for the SEARCH or PPG grants involves completion of forms designed to show financial need of the community, as well as explaining the project being developed. The resulting document from a funded SEARCH or PPG grant is a Preliminary Engineering Report, which may then be used to apply for any needed funding for the project with USDA-RD. Meyer, Meyer, LaCroix & Hixson, Inc. (MML&H) works with communities regularly to plan system improvements and prepare these documents. We would be glad to meet with you to discuss your community needs to see if one of these grants may be the start your community needs to make needed improvements in your system’s infrastructure.