The city of John Day has helped bring in more than $12.5 million to Grant County since 2017 through successful grant applications.
The John Day City Council shared on Dec. 8 that the city has applied for and received 23 grants. There are also 10 potential grant opportunities pending with award decisions coming in the next fiscal year.
A decision on the $3 million 2019 USDA Community Connect Grant for broadband is expected this month. This could fund a broadband connection between Burns and Seneca, which would give John Day faster and more reliable access to internet. This grant is different from the $6 million USDA ReConnect grant, which was recently awarded to expand access to Seneca, Long Creek and Monument.
“We’re really, really lucky to have somebody who’s successful and knows how to write (grant applications),” said John Day Mayor Ron Lundbom. “We really couldn’t have anything without these grants. They have acted as match funds or they have covered what we needed to come up with for projects.”
Lundbom said projects in the city are being heavily funded not by the city, but through these grants and other people. Interest in John Day has risen for private investors as well with plans for a hotel and the purchase of the Weaver Building from the city.
Nine out of the 23 grants awarded are closed out and have been used to support several projects in the city. The 911 grant awarded $420,000 dollars to continue operations and relocate the dispatch center.
The recreational trails program grant from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department provided $191,300 to carry out phase 1 of the Innovation Gateway Trail system.
The feasibility study for a new pool in Grant County is ongoing until February, but a $40,000 planning grant from the OPRD has helped the city of John Day cover planning costs for a future pool.
The city is expecting to close out and receive the final payments within the month from the Transportation and Growth Management grant for the Innovation Gateway Area Plan and the Economic Development Administration grant for the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy/Regional Economic Diversification Summit plan.
In other city council news:
• The city received their 2019 Audit Report and there were no significant findings according to Robert Gaslin, the auditor.
• Heather Rookstool attended the city council to talk about getting a letter of support for shutting down a part of West Main Street, the area between the stop light and Dayton Street, from traffic during Trunk R’ Treat next year. Rookstool proposes to close the area down from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Trunk R’ Treat is planned to be on the first Saturday of October and there are ideas to have a spring event so the area would be shut down two times a year. This would help justify closing the area down since Main Street is a state highway and not owned by the city.
”We have a lot of people in this community that want to do fun things,” said Rookstool. “If we can give them something to do on a Saturday and make it a safe family event, I think you’ll get your businesses more involved.”
Lundbom will provide a letter of support for closing a part of Main Street for these events.