By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is set to receive over $4.8 million in federal grants for highway repairs and economic development. Two Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) grants totaling $4.7 million have been awarded for road repairs due to flooding in 2013. The rest of the funding is in the amount of $145,000 from the Economic Development Association (EDA).
The highway funds will be used to repair numerous tribal roads that were damaged in the January 2013 flooding including: Towstring, Jenkins Creek, Dobson Ridge, Paul Owle, Sherrill Cove, Big Cove Loop, Smiley Littlejohn, Eugene Littlejohn, Bales Lane, Hicks Hollow, Becks Br., Lisa Parker Drive, Bunches Creek, Mount Noble, Lambert Branch, Old #4 (lower), Shut In Creek (Falls), Black Rock (lower), and Washingtons Creek.
The EDA grant will be used to develop a CEDS (comprehensive economic development strategy) for the five-county area including: Cherokee, Graham, Haywood, Jackson and Swain counties.
According to the EDA, “The CEDS process is designed to bring together the public and private sectors in the creation of an economic development roadmap to diversify and strengthen the regional economy.”
Doug Cole, EBCI Planning Office, said their office was notified several weeks ago by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) that the Tribe’s three-year grant application had been approved. “The EBCI will receive $145,000 in planning assistance over the 2014-16 time period to support the goals and objectives of the Tribe’s current five-year CEDs which was developed and approved in 2012,” said Cole. “The development and maintenance of an EDA-approved CEDs is a condition of receiving this grant. The EBCI has had a long-standing relationship with the EDA and has been the recipient of annual Parnership Planning Grants for many years.”
Cole related that the EDA grant will be administered by the EBCI Planning Office which is in the EBCI Division of Commerce.