Magnolia Springs preparing for future, seeking grants

By Jessica Vaughn
Posted 12/23/19

MAGNOLIA SPRINGS - The Magnolia Springs town council has been working hard the last few months planning towards the future, and Mayor Kim Koniar has reached out to Grant Management LLC to discuss …

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Magnolia Springs preparing for future, seeking grants

Posted

MAGNOLIA SPRINGS - The Magnolia Springs town council has been working hard the last few months planning towards the future, and Mayor Kim Koniar has reached out to Grant Management LLC to discuss possible grants that could benefit the town. Grant Management LLC works with cities, towns, and the county to help obtain grant funding.

Cara Stallman, grant consultant with Grant Management LLC, spoke to the council during the December work session about two grants she feels would match the town’s interests: GOMESA (Gulf of Mexica Energy Security Act) and Restore. While both grants sparked interest from the council, the majority leaned towards the GOMESA grant, feeling it aligned with upcoming projects.

GOMESA is revenue that comes from offshore oil and gas production, which then goes to the state and counties and is typically used for coastal restoration.

“The idea behind it is we’re taking one nonrenewable resource out of the gulf, and the communities that live in this area need to get those resources back into them,” Stallman said. She said projects that have previously been funded by GOMESA include public access projects, purchasing land, boat launches, and dredging. Application deadline is Jan. 31, 2020, and Stallman said even if the grant is denied this year it would be great for the town to apply for it and make their interest known. GOMESA is 100 percent funding, with no matches required.

“Friends of the River just got a big $50,000 grant to do a study with Volkert to in the future purchase a dirt pit on County Road 26,” said councilmember Ben Dykema. “We could probably use GOMESA type money to convert that into a wetland which will then take the water that’s running down the river now and hold it long enough to clean it up and stop some flooding.” Stallman agreed it would be the type of project that would greatly benefit from GOMESA funding, which the town will look into further.

The first step towards obtaining GOMESA, and most grants, is having a clear project and plan in place, which is where Koniar fears the town falls short.

“It was over ten years ago that the comprehensive plan was done, and there’s been nothing updated since then that I’m aware of,” she said. “I met with someone recently who asked if we had a master plan in addition to our comprehensive plan, which we don’t … We have to have a plan before we can get a grant for what we want to do. That’s where we’re struggling with this.”

Stallman advised the council to begin by trying to obtain a grant that could be put towards developing an overall plan designing the vision of where they would like to see the town go in the future. Once a concrete project has been developed, the town could then hire an engineer to come up with a detailed cost estimate on whichever project they decided to pursue first. The gathered information could then be used to apply for a grant.