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City takes big step to pave local road

The Andalusia City Council moved one important step forward with its River Falls Street project Tuesday when it authorized Mayor Earl Johnson to enter a contractual agreement with the state for the paving portion of the project.

The $1.5 million in funding from the state for the project is from two funds. The contract received by the city Tuesday is for the paving portion of the grant. The additional funds are for enhancement projects like sidewalks.

Mayor Earl Johnson said he was especially pleased to receive the contract because there had been some indication that the contracts might be delayed.

In a separate action, the council agreed to pursue funding for a proposed regional law enforcement training facility.

The facility, which would be built on 15 acres owned by the city behind Montezuma Center on Academy Drive, would also include a firing range with 20 pistol lanes and a rifle area. It would be used for training activities for local law enforcement officers, but Andalusia Police Chief Wilbur Williams said he also hopes to provide training for other departments in a 90-mile area.

The city has applied for a $259,000 USDA grant for the project, and would seek to fund the remaining 65 percent of the project with a low-interest loan from USDA.

Williams said the grant application has made it through the regional and state approval processes, and will now be considered in Washington.