The Office of Rural Community Affairs recently recognized area grant recipients for their contributions to communities in the North Central Texas area with the presentation of oversized, ceremonial checks.

ORCA awarded $7,573,565 in grants to 25 recipients - including the cities of Midlothian, Italy, Venus and Maypearl - in the region between Sept. 1, 2006, and Aug. 31, 2007.

“ORCA was created to support rural Texas,” said Charles S. Stone, ORCA executive director. “We are pleased to have awarded more than $7.5 million in grants to this region during the past year. Many of these grant programs are competitive, so it is appropriate that we honor the efforts of every recipient for their dedication to their rural community.”

The presentation took place in Arlington and was coordinated by ORCA in partnership with the regional council of governments. Grant recipients, legislators, local, county and regional leaders were invited to attend the event, which was also open to the public.

The city of Midlothian was awarded a $985,000 Texas Capital Fund grant May 15. This grant will provide for infrastructure needs such as water, sewer, storm sewer and road activities in support of Burlingame Industries, a manufacturer of roof tiles. The company is constructing a 225,000 square feet building located in the industrial park at 4300 Power Way, with the infrastructure activities allowing the company to begin its operations. The Texas Capital Fund program is administered by the Texas Department of Agriculture through an interagency agreement with ORCA.

The city of Italy was awarded a $350,000 Community Development grant from ORCA on June 4 to address problems caused by a failing water-well. The grant recipient shall acquire a site for one new water-well, construct the well with all associated electrical controls and fencing and install about 5,400 linear feet of 8-inch water line. The construction is east of Interstate 35 with the water line connecting to the city water system.

The city of Venus was awarded a $350,000 Community Development grant from ORCA on June 4 to make water system improvements, including replacing a major sewer trunk line and installing a new lift station to resolve inflow/infiltration problems. The grant will allow the installation of 2,200 linear feet of 10-inch sewer line, eight manholes, two 30-HP submersible pumps and related appurtenances. The construction shall take place on 1st from Oak to Hickory, with the lift station located on County Road 214.

The city of Maypearl was awarded a $250,000 Community Development Supplemental grant from ORCA on June 4 to address sewer system Texas Commission on Environmental Quality violations for inflow/infiltration. The grant allows for the construction of 5,200 linear feet of 8-inch sewer line, 10 manholes, 120 service reconnections and associated asphalt repair. The construction, which is primarily on 3rd Street, 4th Street, Bowers, Commerce, Trice and Noble, provides for a citywide benefit.

ORCA began its ceremonial check presentation events in August and plans one in each of the state’s 24 planning regions. The events continue through December, with ORCA presenting 565 ceremonial checks totaling $90,811,730.

“As the state agency dedicated solely to rural Texas, ORCA makes the broad resources of state government more accessible to rural communities,” according to a release from the agency. “ORCA was created by the 77th Legislature to ensure a continuing focus on rural issues, monitor governmental actions affecting rural Texas, research problems and recommend solutions and administer rural-focused state and federal resources. ORCA is the door to Texas government for rural citizens.”