Stimulus money for wildlife centers | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Stimulus money for wildlife centers

Posted By on Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 11:02 AM

The Interior Department has announced $2.8 million in stimulus spending to build visitor stations and a maintenance building at wildlife refuges in Central Arkansas.

I guess this money will be spent and enjoyment of wildlife areas will be increased before John Boozman can get to the Senate and put a stop to this terrible waste. It would be far better to spend this money in tax relief for the wealthy and await the trickle-down, right Rep. Boozman?


Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has awarded a $2.8 million contract for three new visitor contact stations and a new maintenance building at central Arkansas national wildlife refuges under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

K-Con Inc., a small business in Charleston, S.C., will design and build the four new buildings under a contract for $2,815,365.

"These new buildings will provide wonderful new facilities to enhance the public’s enjoyment at three of our refuges, including new opportunities for environmental education for school groups," Salazar said. "The construction project will also be an economic boost and provide much needed jobs for the local community.”
Construction will take place at Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge, Wapanocca National Wildlife Refuge and Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge. All are part of the Central Arkansas Refuge Complex.

The three visitor contact stations will be very similar to one another, said Jonathan Windley, deputy project leader for the Refuge Complex. “Each one will be a great gateway to welcome the public visiting
our refuges,” he said. “They offer a special room for school groups where we provide education on the environmental work being done at the refuge, as well as an information desk for volunteers to greet the public and help explain the refuge’s assets and activities. They will also have interpretive wildlife displays and office space for staff.”

The existing facilities at the three refuges are cramped and outdated. Knob’s headquarters has been a single trailer since the refuge opened in 1993. All existing buildings will be demolished as part of the contract.
In addition to the visitor facilities, K-Con will design and build a new maintenance building at Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge that will be used to store and repair the refuge’s equipment.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed in 2009 gave $3 billion to the Department of the Interior.
The ARRA funds represent an important component of the President’s plan to jumpstart the economy and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so the country can thrive in the 21st century. Under ARRA, Interior is making an investment in conserving America's timeless treasures — our stunning natural landscapes, our monuments to liberty, the icons of our culture and heritage — while helping American families and their communities prosper again. Interior is also focusing on renewable energy projects, the needs of American Indians, employing youth and promoting community service.

“With its investments of Recovery Act funds, the Department of the Interior and its bureaus are putting people to work today to make improvements that will benefit the environment and the region for many years to come,” Salazar said.

Secretary Salazar has pledged unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Department’s economic recovery projects. The public will be able to follow the progress of each project on and on

Secretary Salazar has appointed a Senior Advisor for Economic Recovery, Chris Henderson, and an Interior Economic Recovery Task Force to work closely with Interior’s Inspector General to ensure the recovery program is meeting the high standards for accountability, responsibility, and transparency set by President Obama.

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