At their May 18, 2021, regular meeting, the Camden County Board of Commissioners accepted a $5,542,894 Community Development Block Grant Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) award from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA).
“This funding will have a positive impact on the future of Camden County,” said Chairman Gary Blount. “This is another step in ensuring that our community is more resilient in the face of future Disasters.”
This aid is part of $26.9 million in CDBG-MIT funding awarded to the State of Georgia and DCA by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). DCA created a CDBG-MIT Infrastructure Program with this allocation for activities that mitigate against future disasters in the areas affected by Hurricane Irma as well as the 2017 January tornadoes in Southwest Georgia. This funding will be used to renovate an existing County facility, the former Georgia Power Building on Gross Road, into a Community Resiliency Center while also funding a replacement radio communications tower and system migration to 700 megahertz necessary to build interoperability area-wide.
“Although we do not want natural disasters to occur, we must continue to prepare for our response to them,” said Emergency Management Director Chuck White. “Building our Community Resiliency Center is an exciting move forward for our county.”
The Community Resiliency Center seeks to build and sustain community resiliency through outreach, engagement, and training, while also providing infrastructure for disaster recovery operations. The Resiliency Center will directly engage citizens, faith-based and non-profit organizations, and the business community on how to build resiliency in all areas, while highlighting the benefits of a resilient community.
During non-disaster periods, the center may house or host those entities that support community resiliency engagement such as property planning, flood-plain management, and public safety. Additionally, a new Radio Tower will be installed at Camden County Fire Rescue headquarters on Gross Road.
This funding also provides for an additional improvement to the Public Safety Radio System. Building off of the successful enhancements to the system funded through SPLOST VII and SPLOST VIII, the new work will upgrade to 700-megahertz digital spectrum. Movement to 700 megahertz will provide system redundancy ensuring that our Public Safety First Responders have the communications technology necessary to ensure critical emergency services are delivered to save lives and property.
This improves the resiliency of the Public Safety Radio System. “One of the Top Priority items in Camden County’s 2021-2026-2036 Strategic Plan, included the direction, tenant, funding, and actions for the former Georgia Power Building,” said County Administrator Steve Howard. “This grant assists with the achievement of this strategic plan goal.”