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Grant sought for Chamber improvements

Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce officials arepursuing federal agricultural grant funding to renovate the oldcity fire station behind the organization’s building on SouthWhitworth Avenue.

Chandler Russ, executive vice-president, said $29,000 is beingrequested through the United States Department of Agriculture’sRural Development for the project. That will be matched withapproximately $24,000 in local funds, he said.

A public hearing, a required part of the application process, isscheduled for Friday at noon at the chamber office. Russ saidcitizens will be able to express support or any concerns they mayhave about the project during the hearing.

“Anybody who wants to make any comments regarding it will havean opportunity to do so,” Russ said.

Of the $24,000 local match, Russ said $12,000 is coming from theBrookhaven Trust and the Krewe of Ceres while the rest will be fromthe chamber’s capital improvement fund.

“The majority of the improvements will be on the old firehouse,” Russ said. “We’ve got to secure the roof and thewindows.”

Russ said about 80 percent of the overall project will bedevoted to preventing further deterioration to the fire house.

“We’re also going to do some minor cosmetic repairs throughoutthe building,” Russ said.

The fire house work represents the start of a larger project torenovate other portions of the chamber building.

“The long-term plan is to renovate the fire house and the oldcourtroom upstairs for some kind of use,” said Russ, mentioning thepossibility of developing meetings rooms and a reception hall inthe areas.

Russ said he believed the chances of the chamber receiving thegrant were pretty good. Once funds become available, he said thechamber would receive bids on the project and start work as soon aspossible.