Bartow Health Access clinic among many projects awarded by grant program
by Jessica Loeding
Aug 30, 2011 | 3690 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bartow Health Access finally will be getting a home of its own.

The local healthcare organization was one of the local projects funded by the more than $38.8 million in federal assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded to the state's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program last week.

Currently housed at 320 W. Cherokee Ave., Suite 110, the agency moved in March after vacating a Cartersville Fire Department station.

Joanne Thurston, executive director of Bartow Health Access, said the $498,646 grant will fulfill one of the organization's initial goals.

"We started in 2007, and we wanted a clinic from that time," she said. "Our plan has been all along to get a clinic."

The State Community Development Block Grant program provides a financial resource to Georgia's smaller and rural communities to support projects that will create jobs and assist low- and moderate-income citizens.

"Bartow County is designated as a medically under-served area. That means it lacks health care for Medicare, Medicaid as well as the uninsured," Thurston said. "Our hope is to have all services -- Medicare, Medicaid, uninsured -- to offer primary care, basic labs ... Our plans are to add a primary care physician."

Nearly $33 million was allocated for CDBG awards that will be used to support health and safety projects in 70 Georgia communities, including Bartow County and Cartersville.

"I think it will definitely add to the health care of Bartow County in whole. It will add a segment that hasn't been able to be served. Again, it's going to make the community a healthier place," Thurston said of the grant.

Although a location on Porter Street has been looked at, Thurston said other possibilities are available, which may allow for a quicker move.

"We are hoping to get started ... by the first of the year. We don't know yet," she said, adding that the grant will apply only to assets. "This doesn't mean we won't still need donations. ... We are still going to need the community's help."

In addition to the health clinic grant, Cartersville received $199,802 for home improvements.

Julie Haigler, Bartow County grant specialist, said the funds will be used to renovate seven homes in the North Towne area on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. The homes, which are occupied, will receive interior and exterior rehab.

An additional $6 million was invested for economic development projects in 15 Georgia communities. The CDBG funds for the 15 projects will leverage over $450 million in private investments for economic expansions that will create more than 1,700 jobs for Georgians. As additional resources become available, funds for worthwhile job creation and redevelopment projects will be made available on an ongoing basis in various parts of the state.

Among them was the Phoenix Air expansion at Cartersville Airport. Expected to create 30 jobs, the 40,800-square-foot project will cost an estimated $1.5 million to $1.7 million. More than $355,000 was awarded to Bartow County for the expansion through the CDBG employment incentive program/redevelopment awards.

The CDBG program is administered by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, which uses funds allocated through HUD to support local initiatives that focus on improving living conditions and economic opportunities.

"We are pleased that these funds will be combined with private investments and local funds to implement critical community and economic development projects. Each year, CDBG investments demonstrate how the state and local partners working together with the private sector can create a climate of success in local communities for families and businesses," said DCA Commissioner Mike Beatty.

An informational workshop for CDBG recipient communities is scheduled for Sept.15-16 in Macon.