Melrose grant waiting on state approval

Sharna Johnson

The next few months will be a waiting game before it’s known if Melrose will get the money needed to update its wastewater treatment plant.

With a Dec. 17 deadline met, Curry County’s application for a Community Development Block Grant is in the hands of state officials.

The grant, if obtained, would pay the county $500,000 toward a community project which directly impacts low-income members of the community. The county would be required to contribute a 10 percent match toward the project.

Assistant County Manager Connie Harrison said the county will have to attend a hearing to present the grant March 30-31, with a final decision to be announced April 14.

The money would pay to finish a pond and build a new disinfection system.

Melrose Village Clerk Cathy Christesson said the money would pay for phase three of a project aimed at updating the plant and bringing it up to state environmental standards.

Still in the second phase, the project has been paid for completely through the annual state grant program, with awards of $400,000 and $500,000 to date.

“It’s functional now. What we’re trying to do is bring it up to environmental standards. It works fine and all that, but there are some things that we need to take care,” Christesson said.

The third grant could be enough to finish the project, she said, depending on how far the money goes when it comes time to solicit bids.

In September, the county commission reviewed a list of possible projects to apply for and settled on a project to improve and clean up medians between Clovis and Cannon Air Force Base, with the wastewater treatment plant coming in as its second pick.

Harrison said after the commission’s decision, the state’s transportation department notified the county that it had erred and because the medians are owned by the state, “We can’t make improvements to them.”

“Originally we were told that we could,” she said, explaining as a result, the county had to move to the next project on the list.

The median and wastewater treatment projects were selected as top choices because they were the closest to being ready for the application process, which requires having demographic, environmental, archeological and other studies completed.

Other projects considered by the commission in September included an extension of Curry Road Q from Grady to Cannon, purchase of land and construction for a new shelter for domestic violence victims.