CHEHALIS – A group of public and private partnerships started to form Wednesday when a group gathered in Chehalis and many more by internet to discuss how best to use federal and state economic recovery grants. The U.S. American Rescue Plan has earmarked to date $15.8 million dollars for Lewis County. The first half of the government grant has arrived here with the second installment expected in May 2022. Lewis Economic Development Council Director Richard DeBolt from his years in the State Legislature says there’s state dollars to leverage by combining water, sewer and broadband projects. DeBolt says, “We could take corridor projects, a culvert replacement for DNR, Department of Wildlife or DOT. There’s sewer and broadband projects going on, and private projects in this one corridor and we can take the projects and bundle them into a process that allows us to leverage our projects to receive more funds.” “If we can turn that $10 million into $20 million and use matching funds to then get investment in our community in the tens of millions”, he added. Lewis County Commissioner Gary Stamper says it’s an innovative way to expand what the county has already been doing with the monies received. DeBolt says some 700 infrastructure projects are going on right now in Lewis County.  

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