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Flowery Branch to try again to earn state grant for water line
Flowery Branch has been turned down for a community development block grant to put a water line in an older part of the city that crosses into unincorporated Hall County and has unpaved roads. The city would like to continue the effort with the county’s help. - photo by SARA GUEVARA


Flowery Branch City Manager Bill Andrew talks to City Council in November about the city’s unsuccessful try for a grant that would have helped beef up water service in one area of town.

Flowery Branch has been turned down for a grant that would have beefed up water service for some residents, but the city is hoping is take another shot at it in 2010, this time with Hall County’s help.

The South Hall city had applied early this year for a Community Development Block Grant to help pay for a $150,000 project to install a new water line in the Morrow Drive area off Lights Ferry Road.

The area, which sits on the edge of town near McEver Road, has undersized water lines and no fire hydrants, Flowery Branch City Manager Bill Andrew has said.

Part of the area, which has more than 30 homes, lies in Hall County. Also, Second Street and the Hall County part of Morrow Drive are unpaved.

Andrew said this week that he had understood from the state the Department of Community Affairs that the city could go it alone in applying for the grant. But that turned out not to be the case.

"Given the fact that the county wasn’t applying (for a grant) and, therefore, we didn’t have any competition, and given the fact (the county) wrote a letter in support of our application, we thought we were fine," Andrew said.

"So now we’re talking to the county about the idea of a joint application for that project," he added. "We may even try to go in and get the road paved with (the grant money)."

The earliest the city can reapply is April.

Andrew said he thought the two governments could have a pretty good shot at getting the money.

"One of the problems with that area is lack of fire service," he said. "I always assumed there was a tanker truck that would serve that area. There is no tanker truck in South Hall. ... There is, in effect, very little fire protection in that area."

Ryan J. Arnold, program and grants manager for Hall County, said, "I can’t say we’re going to pursue (the grant) or not. It’s something the (Hall County Board of Commissioners) would have to look into."

He said he was surprised by the department’s reason for denying Flowery Branch’s application.

A support letter "usually would have been enough in the past," Arnold said.

The state has scheduled a workshop beginning Friday for grant applicants, he said.

At that time, "the state will hopefully give guidance on ways for the county to partner with organizations seeking to (file grant applications)," Arnold added.

In discussing the matter last month with the Flowery Branch City Council, Andrew said the city might have to compete with Lanier Technical College on filing a joint application.

"For (the county) to be a co-applicant with us, they cannot be applying for another grant," he said. "Lanier Tech is interested (in such a grant) for an adult learning center, so we’re trying to see how the county will weigh that — (whether) they will go with us or Lanier Tech."

Arnold said he didn’t "know the specifics of Lanier Tech’s application, where (the center) would be or what they want to do." He added that he did receive a call from the college seeking general information about the grant.

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