City collects signatures to apply for sewer upgrade grant

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Two districts in the City of Minden are in dire need of sewer infrastructure updates, but getting the money may not be as easy as simply applying for it.

“We need 242 signatures from districts A and B in order to receive a $1.3 million sewer grant,” said Minden Mayor Terry Gardner. “It’s going to help so many people in those areas.”

The Coordinating & development Corporation (CDC) is assisting the City in the preparation and submission of the application for funding through the Louisiana Community Development Block Grant Program.

In accordance with the requirements of this U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funded program, the application for federal assistance must provide information regarding the number of persons who will benefit from the project, their estimated income and other related data.

“We are walking the two districts, trying to get residents to sign applications, so we can get this grant,” Gardner said. “We reached out to the council to help us with this.”

District A councilman Wayne Edwards acquired packets and is working to obtain signatures.

“Quite naturally we are encouraging people to do this,” Edwards said. “The first time the survey came out, I got 126 signatures. We didn’t have enough to complete the survey, but we’re in the process of doing it right now.”

The first time, to which he is referring, came at the beginning of the Covid pandemic when door to door interaction was discouraged. Edwards said those signatures can be added to the ones most recently collected.

“I get hundreds of phone calls and spend the majority of my time working for my district,” he added. “I’m concerned about my district, and I’m going to do my part to make sure this thing happens.”

Councilwoman Terika Williams-Walker was also contacted concerning the grant.

“I have no comment for you,” she said, when asked what she is doing to help residents in her district apply to upgrade their sewer system.

After three days of walking the areas and knocking on several hundred doors, Gardner and some participating city employees collected 28 additional signatures.

“This is not something that is going to help me or anybody that’s knocking on doors,” said the mayor. “This for the residents in District A and District B. The only way we can accomplish this is to have a total of 242 signatures. If we don’t get them, the sewers in these areas will not be improved. This is a free grant.”

Gardner said they have mailed applications to citizens in these districts but none have been returned.

“We will continue to walk and try to collect them that way,” he said.

Deadline to collect the signatures and submit the packet is January 6, 2022.

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