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Aberdeen snags highly competitive federal grant.

Reported by: Susan Parker
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Updated: 12/11/2013 9:39 pm
ABERDEEN, Miss. (WTVA) -- Talk about a shock!

"We were totally shocked," Aberdeen Main Street Manager Ann Tackett said.

Hackett says she and others with the Main Street office are shocked and stunned to be singled out as the only city in the state to snag a highly-competitive federal grant.

"It'll just help our community. It helps the people. It helps our economy. It will help us all the way around for Aberdeen," Tackett added.

Help is coming from The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Appalachian Regional Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Aberdeen is now one of four LIvable Communities as they are being called. The money is to help to improve local food systems and at the same time revitalize downtowns.

Hackett did what many other civic leaders did-just submit a letter of intent. Her idea is to open a cannery and education center.

Locals would bring in a locally grown food and jars.

They would be given instruction on how to preserve fruits and vegetables.

All involved say they hope that the building for the canner and education center is a historical one. A property has not yet been selected.

An old train depot might be just the spot, but it's not the only one in town.

That's a future decision, but for now everyone is on board including local restaurant owner Sarah Gardner.

She believes more people want to know where their food comes from or at least they should.

"I'm a retired nurse and I know that healthy eating is so important to health," Gardner said.

Back at the Aberdeen Main Street office, Ann Hackett says that's the idea they intend to promote.

"We're gonna have to eat healthier. We're gonna have to have locally grown products and that way we know what we're eating," Hackett added.

Hackett hopes the estimated $60,000 in grant money will help to refurbish a building or at least get their plan off to a good start.
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