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Jacinto City receives $1.95 million federal grant

Mayor Ana Diaz (left) and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee holding a replica of the $1.95 million check Jacinto City obtained through a U.S. Community Funding matching funds grant. L to R: Lt. M. Longrigg, Elizabeth Flores, Ivan Rojas, Mayor Ana Diaz, Maria Espinoza, Allen Lee, Joyce Raines, Gabe Perez, Kathy Greiner, Mike Bodak, Lon Squyres and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

Congresswoman Lee announces grant to improve Water Distribution System

By Allan Jamail

JACINTO CITY, TX. August 11 – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee announced to Mayor Ana Diaz, Councilman Allen Lee, and city officials, along with a group of citizens and community leaders, the news that $1,950,000 of funds will be given to the city for water line infrastructure improvements.

Lee said, “When I heard Congress’s House Appropriations Committee would be adding Community Funding Projects as an opportunity for Members of the House to address specific local needs with direct funding to solve problems that helps people and communities, I immediately thought of Jacinto City.”

She continued saying, “I reached out to Mayor Ana Diaz and City Manager Lon Squyres to learn what Jacinto City’s needs were and to suggest that they apply for funding for a Community Funding Project. This project will improve the health and safety of all residents of the City by furnishing clean, safe drinking water and the ability to protect homes and businesses from fires.”

The City will only pay the 20 percent of the funding project.

City Manager Squyres wasted no time with the grant application process. He said, “Two million will not fix all of our water infrastructure needs, but it’s a significant step in the right direction, which the city must make if we’re going to continue to see growth with businesses.”

The City’s proposed project is for a Northeast water main and fire hydrant program to replace aging water delivery infrastructure to a large portion of the City’s residential and business district. The current water distribution lines are at least 75 years old and cannot provide adequate volume or pressure needed to serve the residents and for fire fighting.

The community project for this area includes the city’s only library and only major grocery store. Also included are several hundred residents and dozens of restaurants and other small businesses. The inability to provide reliable water pressure posed a significant life and safety concern because this area is also home to two kidney dialysis centers that are entirely dependent on a constant source of water at an adequate pressure.

Congresswoman Lee said, “The project will allow the City to attract new businesses to the area. In particular, there is a vacant pad in the Tinseltown Shopping Center that was designed for a multi-story hotel. Today the City is unable to approve plans for that development due to the inability of the city to supply adequate water pressure to the site. There’s also about 20 acres on the North side of Market Street that remain undeveloped for the same reason.”

Squyres said, “Once we get this project completed, we’ll be able approve building plans for businesses. This would add to the local tax base and an added bonus for residents will be lower property insurance rates, which have been historically high due to the lack of reliable water pressure throughout the city.”

Mayor Ana Diaz, Councilman Lee, City Manager Squyres, city officials and the crowd of citizens on hand applauded and thanked Lee for her continued help to the city.