$11.5 million for Hancock County rebuilding projects

JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - Governor Haley Barbour announced Thursday that an additional $11.5 million has been awarded for Hurricane Katrina recovery projects in Hancock County. The projects are part of the third round of the $200 million "Ground Zero" Program, which applies specifically in Hancock County, where some of Hurricane Katrina's most serious damage occurred.

"With each round of Ground Zero awards, Hancock County's recovery effort gains momentum," Governor Barbour said. "During this time of economic uncertainty, these projects have become especially important for Mississippi and the Gulf Coast, and we're working aggressively to ensure all funded recovery projects are producing results."

Governor Barbour encourages local leaders to begin construction on these projects in 2009 to help create jobs and stimulate the economy.

The Ground Zero Program is funded through Mississippi's $5.4 billion federally-appropriated Hurricane Katrina recovery package. The package is composed of Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), which are administered through the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA).

HUD approved MDA's Ground Zero initiative last summer, paving the way for Hancock County's local leaders to determine local needs and submit proposals to MDA for Ground Zero funding in late 2008. All awarded projects have passed HUD's CDBG eligibility requirements.

MDA continues to process Ground Zero project applications submitted by Hancock County officials. Almost $155 million in Ground Zero projects have been funded since December 2008, including $25 million for water and waste water projects being administered through the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.

Thursday's awards are as follows:

Bay St. Louis - $200,000, Former City Hall Annex Improvements

Hancock County - $1,325,000, Storm Preparedness Facility

Hancock County - $375,000, Bayou Phillips Community Center

Hancock County - $600,000, Lakeshore Community Center

Hancock County - $2,000,000, Pleasure St. Commercial Harbor Repair

Hancock County - $2,200,000, Pearlington Library & Gym

Hancock County - $1,500,000, Bayside-Lakeshore Rec Facility

Hancock County - $300,000, Clermont Harbor Community Center

Hancock County - $500,000, Hancock County Arena/Emergency Staging

Hancock County - $2,500,000, Stennis Airport Terminal

Total awarded this phase: $11,500,000
Total awarded to date: $154,661,922 (includes $25 million for wastewater projects to DEQ)