Legislators gathered with local community officials at the South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) to present over $1 million in grant funding.
Senator Mike Schulz, Representative Harold Wright, Representative David Perryman and Representative Todd Russ presented Rural Economic Action Plan (REAP) grants and Community Enhancement of Nutrition Assistance (CENA) grants. The grant funding was part of the Oklahoma State Legislature appropriations from the last session.
Every year SWODA helps rural communities in the southwest area apply for REAP and CENA grant funding, which helps to improve the lives of citizens in rural communities, improve infrastructure and promote economic growth and stability in rural areas. After the legislature appropriations are decided, the grant funding is then awarded through SWODA.
“REAP is very important to me as a legislator,” said Representative Harold Wright. “We nearly lost it a few years ago, but we as rural legislators, really stuck together to keep it in the budget. It’s your taxpayer dollars, and we will continue to fight for that.”
REAP grant funding is often the only resources small, rural communities can depend on to get things done. Citizens of rural communities usually have to travel to larger communities for their daily needs, and as a result pay taxes in those communities instead of their own. REAP funding is a way of giving those tax dollars back to the rural communities.
Many rural communities also help to provide nutritional meals for senior citizens through various community or volunteer programs.
“CENA funding is a staple in helping those communities to continue to provide this type of assistance to senior citizens,” said James Boyd, SWODA Director of Aging Services. “This funding will help to feed approximately 900 senior citizens per week in our eight county area.”
The legislators present, democrat and republican alike, all conveyed the same attitude of sticking together to serve the needs of western Oklahoma. “We all get calls from each other’s districts and that’s okay,” said Senator Schulz. “If you have an issue, call us. We’re all here to serve western Oklahoma.
Communities receiving awards include the City of Altus, Sr. Center equipment - $3,800; the Town of Blair, equipment, facility improvement, & supplies - $4,120; the Town of Eldorado, facility improvements - $525.32; the Town of Granite, equipment - $3,800; the City of Hollis, equipment - $3,000; the Senior Citizens Center of Lone Wolf, Inc., food, supplies, & utilities - $12,000; the City of Mangum, equipment - $3,000; the Roosevelt Senior Citizens Center, Inc., food, fuel, facility improvement - $6,204.60; the Warren Senior Citizens, Inc., food, equipment, utilities, supplies, & ins. - $9,000; the Town of Willow, food, facility improvement, utilities, & supplies - $2,250; the Town of Roosevelt, Sewer lift station improvements - $17,957; the Town of Headrick, Purchase of fire truck/equipment - $99,861; the Town of Blair, Waterline Replacement Project - $99,945; the City of Mangum, Purchase of oil and chip materials/street improvements - $100,000; the Town of Lone Wolf, Purchase firefighting equipment - $42,935; and the Town of Granite, street improvement project - $100,000.
For more information about SWODA grant programs, contact SWODA at 580-562-4882.