• 77°

Empowerment Zone plans discussed

SOUTH POINT – Public works, job training and creation and community services in Lawrence County will benefit from the funding decisions made last week by the Huntington-Ironton Empowerment Zone.

Monday, July 30, 2001

SOUTH POINT – Public works, job training and creation and community services in Lawrence County will benefit from the funding decisions made last week by the Huntington-Ironton Empowerment Zone.

The board of directors unanimously approved resolutions for the final sections of the fiscal year 2001-2002 budget and the annual report to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Ironton Mayor Robert Cleary and South Point Mayor William Gaskin, who are board members, spoke positively about these decisions.

"I think the resolutions are well thought out," Cleary said.

Gaskin mentioned that all areas of Empowerment Zone are well-served by the budget.

"Everyone is getting a fair share," he said.

The Ironton Zone is receiving $650,000.

"Several projects in Ironton have funding now," Cleary said.

Other projects in Lawrence County that will benefit from last week’s budget resolution are Tri-State Literary Council, which will receive $20,000; Operation Be Proud, $60,000; and Coalition for the Homeless, $46,000.

Also, young adult/youth education programs and adult workforce development each are assigned $50,000 in the budget.

The total budget, part of which was approved in April and June, is approximately $12.3 million.

Funding from the federal government was a concern. The Empowerment Zone’s funding in the federal budget was cut by the House committee, but the Senate has added $5 million to each of the Empowerment Zones, said Cathy Burn, executive director of the Empowerment Zone, in the financial report. The government’s budget still has to be resolved in a conference committee, but Burns said she believes the $5 million will be secured.

In other financial matters, the Empowerment Zone has spent 71 percent of its funding and obligated all of it, Burns said. The executive director’s evaluation has also been completed.

"I think everyone has been very pleased," board president Tom Jones said.

However, Burns has been asked to spend more time in the future in Ironton, and she will meet twice a month with leaders in the community, Jones said.

Also at the meeting, Burns asked board members to provide suggestions for advisory committee members, saying that there are vacancies in all the committees.