3 towns get $740K

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 9, 2013

Gov. Robert Bentley announced Friday that three Covington County towns were awarded grants to make water, road and storm-drainage improvements.

Heath will use a $250,000 grant for water system upgrades; River Falls, a $250,000 grant to pave potentially unsafe roads; and Red Level, a $240,000 grant for storm-drainage improvements.

“Community Development Block Grants help communities with projects they would find difficult to complete without assistance,” Bentley said. “I am pleased to support the local governments working to improve the quality of life for residents in Heath, River Falls and Red Level.”

In Heath, aging 3-inch water lines are not capable of handling daily residential demand and have become a severe maintenance issue. To provide adequate water pressure and fire protection, the town will install 9,500 feet of 6-inch water pipe and 11 fire hydrants and connect the system to the Covington Water Authority. The project will benefit 74 households.

River Falls will undertake a project to pave Ellis Avenue and a portion of Crittenden Road from Plywood Mill Road to Greenwood Court. These roads have never been paved and are a hazard to motorists, Mayor Patricia Gunter said.

This grant award is the first of its kind since the late 1980s, Gunter said.

“We were so excited to get the news we would be awarded this grant,” she said. “We never drea-med that we would be able to accomplish so much in a year, but we did.”

Gunter was appointed to the position of mayor a year ago this month after the former mayor, Mary Hixon, resigned after pleaded guilty to stealing more than $200,000 from the town.

Red Level will use grant funds to improve the storm drainage system on North Street. The size and depth of the current drainage system is inadequate to handle storm water during heavy rains. New pipes will be installed at the intersection of North and Sellers streets to handle storm-water runoff and each residential driveway on North Street will get a new drainage pipe. The town has committed $2,500 to the project.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grants from funds made available by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. ADECA administers an array of programs that support law enforcement and traffic safety, economic development, energy conservation, workforce development, water resource management and recreation development.