OK Communities Working Against The Clock For Federal Relief Money

Wednesday, July 23rd 2014, 6:12 pm
By: Karl Torp

Cities all across Oklahoma are competing with one another, not over water, retail or residents, but federal disaster aid.

The state of Oklahoma was awarded $93.7 million to distribute to communities in need of relief from storms in May 2013. The Department of Commerce will decide which projects to green light with the funding.

“We submitted a request for $85 million,” says Steve Rhodes with OKC Planning.

Rhodes says a couple of the goals for OKC will be improving drainage and the Stanley Draper water treatment facility.

The Department of Commerce says it doesn't have an idea of what projects it will green light with the money or when. Once it does, you can expect construction to start immediately.

Moore has already received federal grant money in the amount of $52 million. The millions need to be spent over five years, or the city loses some of the disaster aid.

“It’s nerve racking. That’s one of our fears,” says Asst. City Manager, Stan Drake.

Drake tells News 9 half of the $52 million will have to be spent in low to moderate income neighborhoods directly impacted by the May 20 tornado.

“It’s a challenge, there’s no doubt,” says Drake about spending that much all in a small area near Janeway and SW 13th.

Drake says it will allow Moore to complete major infrastructure projects.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime offer to spend our money on our existing infrastructure and we realize that,” says Drake.