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Nye eyes block grants for upgrades to fairgrounds, Amargosa park

With only a few months left in 2023, Nye County is once again contemplating a variety of proposals for the next cycle of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.

Administered by the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the CDBG program has funneled millions of dollars into the county over the last 40 years and officials are hoping to glean even more of that funding in the coming year.

“Annually, we look to enter applications … and we’re looking for economic development-type projects,” Nye County Contracts and Grants Manager Stephani Elliott told the Nye County Commission earlier this month. “I’m really excited, we actually had three applications that were submitted within a very short amount of time after our last meeting.”

The three proposed projects consist of a well and associated electricity supply for the Pahrump Fairgrounds, upgrades to the Amargosa Town Park and office space to facilitate internships for those studying to become social workers.

“We’ve got our utilities superintendent Darren Tuck, he has submitted a project for the Pahrump Fairgrounds Water and Well Improvements – Phase II,” Elliott stated. “The proposed project is roughly about $620,000 for the basic well and electricity itself. Hopefully, we’d be able to get up to $600,000 directly from CDBG.

“The next application through Nye County is from the town of Amargosa. This is something that was brought up last year. The town of Amargosa really needs some park upgrades, specifically for ADA compliant restrooms. They are looking at a cost of $105,500 and they’re requesting about $94,500 through CDBG,” Elliott continued. “Finally, a sponsored application did come through. Mr. David VanDerBeek… and he’s coming forward for a Licensed Clinical Social Worker Internship Office. He’s proposing a project of just over $151,000 and requesting $45,000 in CDBG funding, so just a third (of the total amount) to get that project going.”

Combined, the proposed projects ask for a total of $739,500. For the next round of the CDBG program, the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development has made approximately $3 million available to the state of Nevada.

Elliott noted that the county is only in the preliminary stages of the process but each applicant was given a chance to speak about their proposals.

“This would be a phase two of the existing water system at the fairgrounds and my vision of this project would be to come in from the northwest with electricity from Valley Electric, to supply the well,” Tuck explained of the fairgrounds proposal. “And it would also serve as electricity for other things such as lighting or restrooms, whatever we want to do out there. The other part of the project would be to put in a new well, that would produce better than the existing one we have and would serve as a backup well. And I see this well would help to make sure we have the water we’re going to need for the future at the fairgrounds.”

All of the details of said project are still being worked out but Tuck said he was enthusiastic about the idea because it’s something that will be a major asset to the fairgrounds once completed.

Commissioner Debra Strickland remarked that the proposed well site already has the proper point of diversion and even water rights dedicated to it, which need to be utilized to prove “beneficial use” per the law.

“It’s just sitting there, ripe for it to be drilled. It’s in the perfect position,” Strickland stated. “It’s also strategically located by one of the projects that is already underway, which is the OHV park. I am tickled to death that we have this opportunity.”

Advocating for the Licensed Social Worker Clinical Internship Office was David VanDerBeek, a licensed marriage and family therapist. He explained that internships in rural areas for those studying to be a licensed clinical social worker are not easy to come by.

“Because of, obviously, a shortage of professionals. Therefore, there is a shortage of places they can work and there is a shortage of professionals who can supervise them,” he said.

By way of background, VanDerBeek noted that the source of the concept for such an office was a group of mothers in the local community who are attending Great Basin College for the social work program. “These are women that I have watched evolve and it’s just a great opportunity,” he remarked. “Of course, zero of this grant money would go to me, it would go directly to the program… It’s a very rewarding thing for them to have a place where they can have that clinical supervision.”

The funding requested would be used to renovate a building to provide permanent office space for the program, although exactly which building is still under consideration. Both commission chair Bruce Jabbour and commissioner Frank Carbone stressed to VanDerBeek that finalizing that detail is imperative if he wishes his project to move forward with the CDBG process.

Brenda Dymond with the town of Amargosa was unable to speak on the town’s proposed project that afternoon but commissioners were already well aware of the need.

“Based on what I can read, and what I know being out there and seeing what it’s like, I think this is probably a good step for them. It needs work,” Carbone said, with Jabbour adding, “The facilities are old. And the main point here in their request… is to be ADA compliant because it’s public restrooms.”

Tuck chimed in as well, stating, “I do want to speak in support of the Amargosa Park restrooms. I’m not going to speak to the ADA, but I will speak to the plumbing and it’s atrocious. That bathroom needs to be replaced.”

The next presentation of proposed projects will take place at the Nye County Commission’s Wednesday, Sept. 6 meeting in Tonopah. Anyone interested in submitting a project is encouraged to reach out to JEMcCutcheon@NyeCountyNV.gov or SDElliott@NyeCountyNV.gov

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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