New sidewalks coming to Florala

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The City of Florala will get a bit of a makeover over the next several years, as a number of sidewalk projects are expected to soon be under way.

Monday, the city announced it has been awarded at $300,000 Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant that will go toward renovating sidewalks on 5th Avenue, from U.S. Hwy. 331 to just over a block to the west.

Florala Mayor Robert Williamson said the grant is a good opportunity for the city.

“There’s a 20 percent local match,” Williamson said. “So, there is an investment, and I think our part is around the $50,000 mark.”

Williamson said the TAP grant is actually the second sidewalk-related grant the city will be working with over the next year.

“We also have a transportation enhancement grant that will go toward work we will do on 5th Street,” he said. “We’re hoping to start on 5th Street in the fall, so we would probably start on 5th Avenue next summer. So, we’ll have done three blocks and this (TAP grant) will add two more blocks.”

Williamson said the sidewalk projects aren’t large in scale, but will make a big difference in the overall look of the city.

“I’m one that believes that when you enhance the aesthetics, you enhance the marketability,” Williamson said. “Anytime you can enhance the looks of the city and the government is willing to pay 80 percent, we think that’s a good deal. It’s a big plus and we think it helps attract businesses.”

During a public hearing held earlier this month, the council also voted unanimously to approve the recommendation of the city’s utilities board to apply for a $350,000 Community Development Block Grant for work to be done to the sewer system on the southern end of town. A decision will be handed down from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Fairs following the deadline to apply on Thurs., July 10.