A grant application for construction on the Kettle Butte Dairy and Jerome Resources Road Project has been denied — for now.
The county originally applied for a $3.5 million grant for the ROAD PROJECT. According to a letter from the EDA director, EDA is currently considering awarding $455,000 for the design and engineering portion of the project. The construction portion of the project has been denied.
“Back in September, the EDA came back and decided that they weren’t 100% comfortable with our project,” said Pauline Johnson, project administrator with The Development Company.
Ted Hendricks with The Development Company said the county could still receive money from EDA for construction. He said the grant award could be amended to include construction after the design portion is complete, or the county could reapply next year. He said those at EDA have indicated they were comfortable with the possibility of amending the design grant to add construction. If that were the case, he said the county may be able to begin construction next year as planned.
“It’s kind of a good thing in the fact that they do still like the project, they’re very supportive, they’re just saying let’s do it in phases,” Hendricks said.
EDA estimates the design and engineering project will cost $570,000. The county would therefore need to contribute a 20% match of $114,000, though $50,000 of that may come from an Idaho Gem Grant, Hendricks said.
Dave Walrath, head of the road and bridge department, said he did not think the design and engineering would cost the full $570,000. Hendricks said they had tried to get EDA to approve the numbers, but he said those at EDA could not be convinced it would cost less than $570,000. He said if the county were to receive the Gem Grant, the commitment would be less than the $114,000.
“Really, all you’re going to be committing is the $65,000,” Hendricks said. “So, if you want to do the full design, you can.”
The Idaho Gem Grant is designed for job retention and creation in rural communities. The most recent deadline for the grant was the third Monday in September. The next deadline is in December. However, Hendricks said Jefferson County has been encouraged to apply in spite of the deadline having passed.
“They’re going out of their boundaries to allow us to do this Gem Grant,” Hendricks said.
Hendricks said commissioners would likely hear back about the Idaho Gem Grant the week of Oct. 20 to 26. He said he thinks the county has a good chance of receive the grant.
As for the EDA grant, Hendricks said a new application would need to be sent to EDA. According to the letter from the EDA director, EDA required updated information including “documentation which EDA determines is necessary to complete its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis,” updated budget documents and an updated match commitment letter. Hendricks said there could be no contingencies to the match commitment, but said commissioners could withdraw from the grant if needed.
Commissioners voted to apply for the Idaho Gem Grant and to submit the updated match commitment letter. Hendricks said they will likely hear whether the design and engineering project has been officially selected for an EDA grant by Thanksgiving.
The plan for the Kettle Butte Dairy and Jerome Resources Road Project is to armor and raise a four-mile stretch of road near Roberts. Walrath has said there are issues with the road flooding when water flows down from Kettle Butte.