Community grit plus gratn equal success in Falls City



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The Falls City fire station and community center should be completed in the spring.

FALLS CITY -- For more than a year, a vacant gravel lot stood in place of a fire station in Falls City.

The old fire station had been torn down by citizen volunteers and city officials. They were preparing the site for a new community center that would be a long time coming. Once they got the old site cleared out and the bids for new construction arrived, officials realized they were going to be more than $200,000 short.

So, they started a massive community fund-raising project. There were bake sales, spaghetti feeds and craft sales. Officials wrote grants and passed the hat (so to speak).

Then in late July of 2005, well after the initial groundbreaking, construction finally began.

The building will smaller than envisioned, but it will be the direct result of communal tenacity.

Falls City Mayor Darrin Fleener is very proud of the effort and said he looks forward to the grand opening.

"It's a remarkable building ... and we anticipate the construction to be completed in March of '06," Fleener said.

The bulk of the construction costs were covered by a $600,000 community development block grant from the state.

Since the late 1980s the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's has distributed such grants in Oregon through the Department of Economic and Community Development.

The grants are aims at helping non-entitlement cities and counties of the state develop into more viable (livable) urban communities.

The grants are also awarded for projects aimed at expanding economic opportunities and decent housing for persons of low to moderate income levels.

Applications for the Community Development Block Grant program are accepted on a year-round basis. Successful applicants can receive granmts for as much as $750,000.

For more information: www.fallscity.org for up to date pictures on the project or www.econ.state.or.us/cdbg.htm for more information on block grants.



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