For more than five decades The Clarke County Development Corporation (CCDC) has worked to support local projects and spur on opportunities for the betterment of Clarke County, its businesses, and its citizens. December’s monthly board meeting, held a week early on December 7th, focused on some year-end updates, as expected, but also allowed more than $33,000.00 in discretionary grants and donations to be approved for an exciting close to the year.
One of December’s discretionary grant distributions came via a $12,700.00 fund approved for Clarke Community Schools to help in the purchase of a new trailer. This trailer will be used with the recently established Building & Carpentry Trades Career Academy – a program developed this year with Southwestern Community College (SWCC).
Currently, the trades academy is a 15-credit certification program focused on the building trades and allows Clarke students – currently five enrolled – to earn college course credits while still in high school. Director of Operations, Shane Stephens expects the next year of the program to bring in even more students, allowing for a full, two-year academy where active participants can earn up to 30-credits to take on to college.
The trailer fulfills a big need for the fledgling program. With limited space and storage at the high school industrial arts department, the new trailer will alleviate space concerns as well as provide a suitable mode of transportation. Students will be able to store materials, equipment, ladders and more for on-the-job locations without concern of damage or loss.
“Programs like this are important for the growth of our community,” said Bill Trickey, CCDC Executive Director. “If we prepare our students for success today, we’ll see it returned 10-fold in their investments in our futures.”
Another discretionary grant of more than $18,600.00 was awarded to The Village Early Childhood Center to cover the costs associated to kitchen and food-service area damage and repairs.
Just before Thanksgiving, the heating element in center’s stove went bad, catching fire and blasting a hole through the bottom of the stand-alone unit. The approved grant will go to cover the costs associated to replacing the industrial stove as well as provide kitchen-grade flooring across the room and covering concrete repairs made after updates earlier in the year.
Donation requests also took up much of the conversation Wednesday morning. With a $550 request from The Eagles for their Christmas gift giveaway program and a $350 request from The Clarke County Homeless Coalition to support an informational event for those with housing challenges. The Coalition’s $350 request was to go to cover meals for an upcoming event and the board decided to round it up to $500 to make sure needs for the event and future challenges can be addressed.
Each month, the CCDC sets aside $1,000 for community donations. These donations range from non-profit community improvement projects to non-profit organizations focused on helping local children and families. Considerations for donations are taken each month and rewarded to various organizations throughout the year.
“As we look to 2023 and beyond, the board is really focused on enhancing support for groups like these,” said Trickey. “These are the people with ‘Boots on ground,’ doing all they can to make our community a better place to live.”