Various Highland County organizations are the recipients of $9,000 in grants from the Bluegrass Pipeline Community Grant Program.
On Thursday, Highland County Commissioner Tom Horst accepted a $1,500 donation for the sheriff’s office from the program, which one of four donations the program recently presented throughout the county.
Donations were also given to the Highland County Community Action Organization, Inc., the Samaritan Outreach Services of Highland County, and Highland County Family and Children First, all in the amount of $2,500 each.
Wendell Hunt, a local outreach business partner with the Williams energy company of Tulsa, Okla., was present during the check presentation. Hunt said the grant program allows the company “to give money in areas where we expect to be operating.”
Donations are given, he said, to groups which are “vital to our organization and our employees,” which include emergency response, elderly services, education, children services, or any program that “benefits the community as a whole.”
In addition, the press release states that other eligible projects include wildlife habitat enhancement, conservation education, historic preservation, and economic development.
During the check presentation, Hunt said, “Coming into your community, we want to be a good citizen and a good neighbor.”
Horst said the funds would be “put to good use.”
The donation to the sheriff’s office will be used to replace the dispatch consoles and update the repeaters for both emergency communication systems in the county.
At the Highland County Community Action Organization, Inc., executive director Julia Wise said, “The money is targeted for our Senior Nutrition Home Delivered Meals Program.” The nutrition site is based out of Greenfield, Wise said, adding that, each day, 120 meals are delivered throughout the county.
“We appreciate… that they stepped forward to help with the program,” she said. “It’s a great program beyond just providing a meal.”
Wise added that Highland County Community Action had applied for the Bluegrass Pipeline grant last year, but had not received it. After being awarded the grant for 2014, however, Wise said, “We were excited. It’s a good start to the beginning of this year.”
Samaritan Outreach Services will use the donation primarily for the purchase of food, said executive director Wade Hamilton.
“We purchase between six and ten thousand pounds of food a week,” he said, adding that the food is purchased through the Freestore Foodbank. Also, he said S.O.S. spends between four and five hundred dollars each week on food.
Upon receiving this donation, Hamilton said, “I was really excited.”
Grant money, he said, has been harder to come by “since the economy took a turn for the worst.”
And the $2,500 donation, he said, will help numerous people throughout the county.
Highland County Family and Children First will be using the money to purchase equipment “for aquatic therapy groups for children and adults with disabilities,” said coordinator Danielle Ratcliff.
The services offered by Highland County Family and Children First, Ratcliff said, apply to, not only children with developmental disabilities, but also those who face challenges such as ADHD or bipolar disorder.
The “driving force” toward applying for the Bluegrass Pipeline grant, Ratcliff said, was a family-driven, grassroots group known as the Highland County Support Group for Families with Children with Disabilities.
“We applied for it in December,” Ratcliff said. “We were so excited that we got it.”
Ratcliff added that there had been “no other place to get funding” for the equipment.
Ultimately, the Bluegrass Pipeline grant program is designed to “emphasize the company’s social responsibility on issues such as safety, environmental stewardship, and community benefits,” according to the press release.
The Bluegrass Pipeline is being developed by the Williams energy company and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners. When finished, the pipeline will cross much of the western portion of Highland County from north to south.
The pipeline will transport natural gas liquids from Pennsylvania and West Virginia through two 20-inch lines that will converge in Noble County into one 24-inch line. It will traverse 13 Ohio counties and cross the Ohio River into Kentucky. From there, it will meet with an existing pipeline, which reaches the Gulf Coast.
A total of 600 miles of pipe will be added to the existing pipeline.
When finished, the Bluegrass Pipeline will carry roughly 200,000 barrels per day of natural gas liquids, which includes ethane, propane, butane, pentane, and natural gas.
“One of the good things about the pipeline in my opinion is that…when you put in the infrastructure…it opens up opportunities for people,” Hunt said.
The pipeline project was first announced last spring. Since that time, Hunt said, “We’ve been out working with landowners.”
The project is expected to be complete in mid-to-late 2016.
Sarah Allen may be reached at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @SarahAllenHTG.