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JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER

GRANITE SHOALS — Granite Shoals leaders recently learned that if they want additional work done on the city’s three main road arteries, it will cost an extra $2 million.

But City Manager Ken Nickel told the Granite Shoals City Council on Dec. 13 he knows a place he might be able to get that money without it coming from residents’ pocketbooks: the federal government.

The work on Prairie Creek, Phillips Ranch Road, and Valley View originally was slated to cost $5 million with $3 million coming from local bond revenues. In November, voters approved a $3 million bond, which also will be used as the city’s matching portion toward a possible U.S. Department of Agriculture grant. Initially, city officials were eyeing $2 million from the USDA.

City officials are now considering doing more extensive work on each road, which will make the total cost jump to $7 million, Nickel said. The council voted to pass a resolution that increased Nickel’s authority to prepare an application that seeks additional financial assistance in order to fund the project.

“The USDA seems to be a good option to get that grant,” he said. “They have encouraged us to go forward with this.”

Under the new proposal, work on Phillips Ranch Road will go from RR 1431 to Live Oak; work on Prairie Creek will go from RR 1431 to East Granite Castle; and work on Valley View will go from RR 1431 to Hill Circle East.

In addition, crews will install curbs and gutters on Prairie Creek from RR 1431 to Lake LBJ.

“Those (curbs and gutters) are the most expensive,” Nickel said. “We’ll go bid all three roads separately. We’ll start out with Valley View; it’s the easiest one to complete.”

Nickel told the city council he is planning to apply for more grant money from the USDA to cover the remaining $4 million for the three road projects.

“That $3 million (from the November bond) will cover the city’s portion,” he said.

He plans to meet with USDA representatives in a few days to explore options. Prior to presenting a bond vote to residents, Nickel had some conversations with USDA officials, who indicated they believe Granite Shoals is an ideal candidate for a street repairs grant, Nickel said.

“They have really encouraged us to move forward,” he said.

Work on the road projects might not start for two years, Nickel said, because it’s dependent on Granite Shoals getting the USDA grant, which could take up to 24 months to process and be awarded.

jfierro@thepicayune.com