Harrisburg city leaders tap into free workforce - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Harrisburg city leaders tap into free workforce

HARRISBURG, IL (KFVS) - Keeping a city's budget balanced, and still keeping up with city projects and maintenance on buildings can be a struggle. But Harrisburg's city leaders have figured out how to do both without spending a dime.

That's because they have been able to tap into a free workforce being provided by MantraCon in Marion.

The company has been able to access federal funds through the National Emergency Grants to provide the workers free of charge for flood recovery projects.

It's manpower that Harrisburg Mayor Eric Gregg says they couldn't pay for themselves.

"It's a great opportunity for the City of Harrisburg to deal with flooding issues that we've had in the past," said Mayor Gregg. " And address problems we've wanted to for a long time. Without the MantraCon workers these projects would not have been started anytime soon."

So far the workers have been able to clear a large flood plane near the city's water treatment plant. And several other key drainage areas around town.

Mayor Gregg's goal is to get all of the city's major and primary drainage areas cleared by the workers before June. That's when the federal funds for the program run out.

"Not only are we going to enjoy the benefits of their hard work for the next year. But for the next 50 years is what we're hoping."

For many of the workers on the project it's their first job in a long time.

"This job is particularly important for me as a Veteran, also as an individual who has been unemployed for some time," said Larry Holland of Marion. "And not just that but I'm also getting to help the people of Harrisburg strengthen their infrastructure."

Megan Cook of Eldorado is looking forward to finally be able to take care of her family.

"It's putting money in my house and getting the bills paid," said Cook. "And it's making sure that my babies are going to have a great Christmas. That's just pretty much all that matters to me is taking care of my babies."

The City of Harrisburg isn't the only place cashing in on the free workers, so is Galatia and the Harrisburg Township. The state parks at Wayne Fitzgerald, Rend Lake, Lake of Murphysboro, and Giant City State Park are also benefiting from the federally funded program.

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