It may be viewed as the last and most viable opportunity to bring closure to what has been the never-ending saga of the Augusta Bottom Road and what to do about it. The director of the Boonslick Regional Planning Commission has suggested Warren County apply for a grant through the federal Economic Development Administration. The EDA has allocated $51 million for disaster projects from the 2011 fiscal year in a 10-state area that includes Missouri. The funds are expected to be sought by entities rather quickly.
Warren County and the bottom road certainly qualify as an applicant because the county had three disaster declarations in 2011.
A caveat is that a local match is involved in the grants that are awarded. The grant if approved would cover 80 percent of the cost of the new road. The remaining 20 percent would have to come from the cities, towns and counties concerned about the project, and the Dutzow Bottoms Levee District. A new Augusta Bottom Road on the north side of the levee where it now is may cost $2 million, according to available estimates. That means the 20 percent local match of about $400,000 would have to come from the concerned entities. Part of the local match could come from in-kind services.
To move forward it is vital that the property owners are in agreement with the location of the road and that needed right of way is assured.
There really isn’t any other plan on the table at this time. The need for a new road, especially due to safety concerns, has been well documented.
The Boonslick Regional Planning Commission is the lead agency in obtaining a grant. It has made considerable progress in seeking cooperation of the entities involved and should be congratulated for its efforts. The key to getting the new road is cooperation.
If this plan fails to materialize, well, the options are limited. It may be many years before there is another grant opportunity.