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Southwest Missouri News-Forsyth

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by Carol Harris, Branson area, and Mary Engler-Guccione, Joplin area

The Forsyth Beautification and Betterment Project is reviewing applications for its new part-time program director position, according to the organization's president, Margie Berry.

Berry said the Betterment Project, which was approved by the state for $25,700 in Neighborhood Assistance Program credits last year, has a new office at 150 Short St. in Forsyth and expects to have the new program director selected and at work by March 1.

Berry said other goals of the Betterment Project include:

?Establishing a baseline inventory of downtown real estate by April 1.

?Creating a business plan for a recruitment and retention strategy by May 1.

?Initiating the planning for a design plan for the downtown area by June 1.

In addition, with current NAP credits expiring this summer, Berry said her 13-member board plans to submit another application for NAP tax credits in March.

In related news, Berry's husband, Jim Berry, mayor of Forsyth, said the city of Forsyth has been given the go-ahead by City Council to seek a Rural Economic Assistance Program grant to finance a full-time economic development director for eastern Taney County.

The grant application, due Feb. 28, seeks a two-year grant of $30,000 each year with the local entities providing $10,000 in matching funds. Berry said the city is actively recruiting eastern Taney County communities, including Taneyville, Bradleyville, Cedar Creek, Rockaway Beach and Merriam Woods for their support. If approved by the state of Missouri, the grant will become effective in January 1999.

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