Letter to the Editor

WECRD moving along nicely

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Dear editor:

The WECRD has pursued federal appropriations since 2006, working very closely with Rep. Mike Simpson. The Mountain Home Community Center Complex (MHCCC) has had the full support of Idaho's congressional delegation in Washington D.C.

"I am convinced that this (WECRD) project has tremendous merit and would be a welcome addition to the Mountain Home region. The recreation center envisioned in your submission would help improve the health of the region's citizens, provide a community gatheringplace, and attract new businesses and economic opportunities to the area. In addition, the facility would provide a convenient exercise facility for the many active-duty servicemen and women living in Elmore County as well as the thousands of veterans who reside in the region." -- U. S. Representative Mike Simpson

Convinced the WECRD proposal would compete well nationally and knowing it would take a few years of presenting the project in D.C. before Congress would allocate money, Idaho's delegation pushed for federal funding.

Strengths the delegation promoted in D.C. were the proven overwhelming and verifiable need of the community, the substantial savings for the WECRD, the debt-free ownership of an ideal location and size of property for the MHCCC to serve the community, the WECRD's vision, planning, consistent progress and willingness to do the foundational work needed before asking for federal assistance. Forefront in the D.C. discussions has been the way the NMCCC will positively affect the active duty and retired military families living in and around Mountain Home (over 7,000 veterans live here, the highest per-capita in the nation).

The result: Congress allocated $294,000 federal dollars, dedicated solely for construction of the MHCCC, for fiscal year 2008. The WECRD has not yet received these funds, as the lengthy and detailed process to receive Department of Housing and Urban Development (IIM) designated funds continues.

Since February 2008, volunteer Betty Ashcraft and Directors Doug Belt, Dee Pate and I have been following all guidelines (the directions alone have been 39 pages) set forth to receive the $294,000. Working closely with HUD representatives in Seattle and Washington, D.C., the WECRD has successfully completed and submitted the Standard Form 424 application to receive the federal grant.

Acknowledgment of the grant in the amount of $294,000 has been received by the WECRD. Upon receipt of the environmental clearance for the property, HUD will issue the money.

The final part of the application is another 15 pages, for the LOCCS number to verify disbursement of the funds. Altogether the application process has resulted in approximately 45 hours of intense consideration on each of the items, phone calls to appropriate entities for a DUNS number, CCR registration, and compiling all of the necessary documents for a thorough fund-disbursement application.

Right now the WECRD is complying (through the pro-bono work of Bionomics) with the HUD mandated environmental review of the property.

Betty Ashcraft, Doug Belt, Dee Pate and I know the federal appropriations work is worth doing; our volunteer effort is benefiting Mountain Home. Mountain Home needs a recreation facility and we are ready to initiate Stage I of the MCCCC.

Changing the direction of the WECRD now will harm an unprecedented federal-local partnership, will hamper Mountain Home's capacity to receive the $294,000 from HUD and will unravel an unprecedented opportunity for our community.

Mollie Marsh

WECRD director