LUMBERTON, MS (WDAM) - Despite the financial struggles, the City of Lumberton could soon be adding up to $2.5 million to its water and sewer system due to a matching grant through the Mississippi Environmental Infrastructure Assistance Program.
"This is something that is just a gift, I think it can boost the city as a whole, and show people there is some good on the way," said Lumberton Mayor Ben Winston.
According to Winston, the grant is administered through the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and is known as the "Section 592" program.
The program provides 75 percent of a projects total cost, with the "receiving" city or municipality covering the remaining 25 percent.
"The only thing we got to do is get everything in place before they implement the grant," said Winston.
Winston acknowledged the grant would not fix the city's infrastructure issues entirely, but would help.
"It would put us back in the thick of things, truly it will not completely supply all the funds we need to completely fix our infrastructure, but it would go a long ways, I would say it probably will do at least 50 to 60 percent of what we need," said Winston.
According to Winston, the city would have to come up with nearly $625,000 to match on the grant.
Winston added that he has already notified the Corps of several avenues of money, including the city lining up a $450,000 grant from the Mississippi Development Authority and around a $175,000 line of credit through the Southern Mississippi Planning District.
Winston also added they need majority of things to fall in place by mid-April to be able to pass along to the Corps.
"We still have a few other avenues that we are looking for to be sure we secure the proper funding, there are a lot of moving parts this project overall," said Winston.
If everything goes according to plan, Winston hopes the city could be discussing bids by the end of the year.
"Another thing that would be great, if it allows and our people can meet the requirements, is if some local folks can get the bids, or come in to do the work, if not that's understandable, but it would be nice to help out the local people with jobs," said Winston.
Winston, the city engineer, and other city officials met Thursday afternoon to discuss further plans for the project.
"Infrastructure is a huge part of a city, when you are trying to attract people to come to your city, you need good infrastructure and we really hope this grant will provide us a boost and us an avenue for that," said Winston.