MAMMOTH SPRING -- Mammoth Spring Mayor Jean Pace said it is hard for a city the size of Mammoth Spring to operate on a small budget and have funds left over for the little extras to make the city more attractive, not only to tourists but to the residents who live there.
This year Mammoth Spring will conduct business on a budget of $593,600.
Since 1995 the mayor has written, applied for and received nearly $400,000 in grants to build sidewalks, restore buildings and buy equipment she thinks has enhanced the beauty and lifted the morale of the town.
"We received a $97,500 federal COPS grant that has helped us expand the police department and another $2,500 for a child locator, computer, printer, desk and other programs at the police department," Pace said. She said the grant also allowed the city to hire another police officer four years ago.
"The first year the grant paid two-thirds of (police officer) Jamie Turnbough's salary. The second year it paid half his salary, and the third year it paid one-third. By the fourth year we had phased into the budget the entire salary of the officer. The way the grant was set up made the transition of the city paying the entire salary much easier," the mayor said.
Pace said the city also received federal and state grants for more than $205,000. She said cities have to be located on a federal or state highway to receive the grants. Mammoth Spring is located on Highways 9 and 63. Pace said new sidewalks and lamp posts were purchased with the grants.
"The flower beds at the intersection where the highways connect were also built with the grant money. Every year since they have been constructed the community donates money to but in the plants at the intersection," she said. Pace said between $75 and $100 a year is usually donated toward the project.
Pace said other grant funds received include $5,000 for the restrooms at the mini park, $10,000 for fire department equipment, $5,000 for a Jaws of Life and $2,000 for traffic control equipment that can be used by the street department and fire department.
The city received a grant for $45,000 to purchase a chipper and leaf vacuum and $5,000 from Arkansas Rural Development Commission to put a new roof on the historic community building located on Main Street in the city.
"There is no way our city could have purchased this equipment or made the needed improvements for our city without these grant funds," Pace said.
Pace said it is not hard to write a grant. She has been doing it for many years. "All grants, of course, have their own guidelines that have to be followed. The hardest thing when dealing with state or federal grants is finding them," she said.