May 31, 2017 Edition

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Lawrence County Judge John Thomison and wife Rita (center) accept a $40,000 unpaved roads grant on behalf of the county. Also on hand for the presentation were (from left): Claude Graves with the Rural Development Commission, Emily Hathcock with the East Arkansas Planning and Development District, Arkansas Economic Development Commission Director Mike Preston, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, AEDC Executive Vice President of Operations Amy Fecher and Lynn Hawkins with the Rural Development Commission.

County receives $40,000 grant

Gretchen Hunt

Lawrence County has been selected to receive a $40,000 unpaved roads grant. County Judge John Thomison and his wife, Rita, traveled to Hot Springs last week to accept the grant on behalf of the county.

The Unpaved Roads Program is designed to create a better unpaved county road system in Arkansas with a reduced negative environmental impact on priority water resources.

The program focuses on management practices to reduce the impact of sediment and road runoff to streams, rivers and drinking water supplies, while also reducing long-term unpaved county road maintenance costs.

Judge Thomison said he requested funding to help with drainage at several sites in the county. He said Emily Hathcock with the East Arkansas Planning and Development District was integral in the grant application process.

The Arkansas Unpaved Roads program is a partnership between the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Division of Rural Services, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the Nature Conservancy.

Thomison said they presented several needs in Lawrence County, all of which will not be able to be funded by the initial grant. He said he is hopeful for more funds in the future, though.

"I feel very good about chances for even more funding," he said. "We were encouraged to and will reapply next year for additional funding."

The judge expressed his appreciation to all who made the grant possible.

"We are appreciative of everyone who was involved in the application process," he said. "We also want to thank Rural Services for the opportunity to be a part of the program."

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