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Stimulus dollars coming to Sylvania

Some federal stimulus money is making its way to Sylvania.
The city has won two grants worth a total of about  $700,000 – one to improve water lines along St. Andrews and Mock streets and a second to pave E. Ogeechee Street, City Manager Carter Crawford said.
“We only qualified for two shovel-ready stimulus projects and we got both of them,” Crawford told city council members at their regular meeting at City Hall on Tuesday. “Quite frankly, I didn’t think we had a chance” of getting the grants, he said. “I was quite pleasantly surprised.”
An Urban Development Action Grant for $487,000 will enable the city to install larger water lines on several streets in the area of St. Andrews Street and replace water lines on Mock Street with larger lines, he said. Work should begin by the end of this year.
Crawford said he doesn’t have a final dollar figure for the value of the second grant, which will come from the Department of Transportation and will be used to pave 1.4 miles of E. Ogeechee Street. But he estimates the cost will be $200,000 or less. That work should begin around the first of next year, and will include digging up the existing asphalt, grinding it up and pouring new pavement.
The city spent $50,000 on engineering studies to get the grants and hired a consultant who specializes in writing that type of grants.
Meanwhile, in other business Tuesday night, the city council unanimously agreed to have a company based in Duluth manage its municipal court probation program.
Sentinel Offender Services LLC will manage the entire probation process, from attending court sessions and gathering information about offenders to overseeing such things as drug tests, community service work and collection of fines.
The city will pay nothing for the services; they will be paid for entirely by fees paid by offenders. The city needs the help partly because the tough economy has resulted in many more people doing community service in lieu of fines. The one person in the police department who has been overseeing people on probation has been overwhelmed. 
In other action Tuesday night, council members also agreed unanimously to seek bids for renovating the Downtown Development Authority building and adjoining Soda Shop art gallery. And they also unanimously approved a lease that will require the DDA to pay about $467 a month in rent for 15 years.