Neighbors on Simmons-McIntyre Road, a remote dirt road in Decatur County, were happy to learn this week that their road will be paved as part of a $500,000 grant Decatur County commissioners recently received from the State of Georgia.
If you’ve ever driven from Bainbridge to Tallahassee, Simmons-McIntyre is the last road on the right as you travel south toward the Georgia-Florida state line.
Although there’s several homes and a church on the road, it’s never been paved and it’s practically difficult for the county’s Public Works department to do major improvements to the road because it’s 22 miles away from Public Works headquarters.
Decatur County Commissioner Frank Loeffler, who worked for Decatur County Schools in the 1980s, recalled how difficult it was to send buses to pick up children on Simmons-McIntyre Road after there had been heavy rain, in large part due to the area’s low elevation.
Farrell Lawrence, current transportation director for Decatur County Schools, said those issues continue today and asked for citizens’ patience when the widening and paving work on Simmons-McIntyre Road begins.
“When all the road paving equipment is parked on Simmons-McIntyre, it’s going to feel kind of cramped for a bit,” Lawrence said. “We’ll have to be extra careful with the buses but we’ll get them in there.”
Approximately 20 citizens turned out to the early morning ribbon cutting for the upcoming road project, and clapped as county officials talked about the improvements that would be made. Others present included County Commissioner-elect George Anderson, who will represent the Attapulgus area starting in January 2015, County Public Works employees, Decatur County Administrator Gary Breedlove, Decatur County Public Works Director Dennis Medley and Suzanne Brandt, director of environmental services for Decatur County.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded the funding to Georgia’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which is administered by the Department of Community Affairs (DCA).
As part of the 2014 CDBG program, 71 Georgia communities will receive almost $35.8 million in Community Development Block Grants for infrastructure improvements, neighborhood revitalization and centers that will serve Georgia’s neediest citizens. In addition, $3.9 million in CDBG Employment Incentive Program (EIP) funding was recently awarded to 11 Georgia communities to invest in redevelopment and economic development projects that are creating 1,172 jobs and $316.6 million in private investment.