A look at grant funding benefiting Wichita Falls

Several city of Wichita Falls departments are benefiting from grant funding that was awarded recently.

The Wichita Falls City Council will hold a regular meeting Tuesday, and accepting grant funds from various state and federal agencies is part of the agenda.

Health grant of $250,000

The Wichita Falls-Wichita County Health Department received $250,000 in renewal grant funding to continue their effort to lower the impact of obesity and related chronic disease.

The grant is from the Department of State Health Services for the Community and Clinical Health Bridge Project (CCHB).

The department will use these funds to coordinate with community health partners to improve health information technology, develop a referral system for improved obesity and other related chronic disease treatment, create more training and education for health care providers and patients, and encourage health lifestyles through health promotion and outreach.

During the first grant funding cycle, the health department said they made progress in laying the foundation for working with facilities and physicians.

Next, they hope to develop a database for health and wellness resources called Live Well Wichita County (LWWC). Some facilities will have kiosk or loanable tablets to access LWWC.

Funds will also be used for a media/public awareness campaign about the LWWC program.

WFPD gets $59K for facial recognition software

The Wichita Falls Police Department received a $59,000 grant through the Office of the Governor’s Homeland Security Grant Program.

The grant pays 100 percent without a cash match required. WFPD will use the funds to purchase facial recognition software and associated camera equipment.

4A puts $1.5 mil toward SAFB Main Gate upgrade

In hopes of future grant funding for the city, the Wichita Falls Economic Development Corporation (WFEDC) is dedicating $1.5 million in their budget toward the Sheppard Air Force Base Main Gate upgrade.

About a year ago, SAFB received $2.7 million in military funds for the upgrade to the gate area. In July, the Department of Defense issued increased requirements for anti-terrorism or force protection that increased the cost of the gate project. The expected total is $5.7 million.

The city can apply for a state grant on behalf of the base through the Defense Economic Adjustment Assistance Grant program. They are requesting $1.5 million and should know the outcome of the grant request by Dec. 14.

The WFEDC funds will assist the base with the gate project and safeguarding the areas on base and the surrounding area. The group decided this project will help the Wichita Falls area retain primary jobs and promotes and supports Sheppard.

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Three new buses with FTA funds

Free money is always good, and the city is getting nearly $1.3 million of it from the Federal Transit Administration to purchase three new buses.

Bids were open Sept. 22 for purchase of the buses and Gillig was the only company to respond. Transportation development credits of $275,200, along with FTA funds, will pay all of the cost of these buses for the city.

These new units could be used to replace existing buses, or the transportation department could determine if additional routes are needed in the city.

The custom-built buses are expected to be delivered sometime during fiscal year 2018-19, so the determination of additional routes will be made in FY 2019-2020.

Claire Kowalick, Times Record News Published 10:00 p.m. CT Nov. 5, 2017

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