“We hope they will review our recommendations knowing the consideration which the committee has placed in each suggestion,” said Lisa Stanbery, committee chairperson.
Recommended grant recipients include the Bradley County EMS, Farmers Market North, Prospect Elementary School, the Charleston-Calhoun-Hiwassee Historical Society and the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway. Roughly $92,000 in grant money will be divided among the five recipients if approval is received by commissioners.
Each grant proposal listed outlined a specific project and dollar amount. Committee members read the proposals, listened to the presentations and asked questions. The members then deliberated among themselves on who should receive funding and how much should be given.
Stanbery said the decisions were not made lightly.
“The committee takes a lot of time to look at the proposals before submitting them for review by the Commission,” Stanbery said. “One of the criteria we have been charged with by the Commission is to look at areas [which] have not had an opportunity to participate in the funding.”
The historical society was highlighted as an example. The group requested $23,700 to aid in continued renovation of the Heritage Center in Charleston. The committee will recommend the full amount to the County Commission.
According to Melissa Woody, the center will highlight important pieces of national history. She said Charleston was the site of Fort Cass, the military operational headquarters for the Trail of Tears. There is currently no landmark, sign or plaque displaying the history.
Woody also mentioned the building could be a visitor center for the Cleveland-Charleston-Bradley County area.
Some HCI grant recipients have been awarded money by the County Commission once or twice in the past. Stanbery said there is a reason for the continued funding.
“One of the reasons people see these recipients over and over again is because their projects are widely used by the community,” Stanbery said.
She cited the Bradley County EMS as an example.
“One of the grants we awarded in the past was for specific equipment, like defibrillators. The day the ambulances received the equipment they saved a life,” Stanbery said. “The ambulance service has saved lives with their grant money.”
She said the County Commission is in a unique position.
“The Commission had the honor of knowing their vote to approve the grant then impacted someone so personally in the county [by saving their life],” Stanbery said.
Recommended grants for review are as follows: Bradley County EMS, $25,500; the Charleston-Calhoun-Hiwassee Historical Society, $23,700; Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway, $35,000; Farmers Market North, $4,750; and Prospect Elementary, $3,000.