John Clary, executive director for Henderson Economic Development Corporation (HEDCO) informed the board that they could submit a second application for another possible grant from Texas Workforce Commission similar to the one that was approved last fall. 

The grant is for the High Demand Job Training program that will benefit the Career and Technical Training (CTE) program at Henderson High School.

The first matching grant was for $150,000 from HEDCO and $150,000 from Texas Workforce Commission to remodel the CTE facilities with a focus on training students in welding.

This new grant will also be a matching grant for $150,000 from both entities but would focus on another type of job training set by Texas Workforce Commission.

According to Clary there is currently a waiting list at CTE for students wanting to enroll in the welding Job Training program.

The board approved to pursue this second grant if new school superintendent, Dr. Thurston Lamb and CTE director Lisa McCreary, agree to go forward with it.

Clary also gave an update to the board concerning the railroad improvement grant that was submitted on July 15. The grant is structured for either an $8 million plus or $11 million plus depending on how it is contracted.

“Blacklands Railroad reported that they are on track to do 1,500 carloads this year and are talking to a customer to bring about 1,200 additional carloads to the trans load center,” Clary said.

Last month the board was informed that the Rusk County Rural Rail District (RCCRRD) met with Clary and told him that a maintenance program to replace rotting ties was not set.

Blacklands maintains the railroad but the ties will need to be purchased by other means. Currently there are 42,000 ties on the spur and no preventative maintenance in place. Estimated cost is $40,000 per year for the ties.

Clary told the board that there was a Build Grant that could be applied for to help with the cost. The board agreed for Clary to apply for the grant.

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