Area small towns get $650K+
Published 12:55 am Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Gov. Robert Bentley didn’t wear a Santa suit when he came to Covington County Monday, but he did stand near a Christmas tree and announce more than $650,000 in grant funds for local projects.
The Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) were awarded through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.
“These are actually federal dollars,” Bentley said. “We provide matching funds to secure them.”
The governor expressed appreciation to U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, who represents the Wiregrass in Congress, for her support of federal grants. He also thanked Rep. Mike Jones R-Andalusia, and Sen. Jimmy Holley, R-Elba.
“Without their help making sure the general fund dollars were there, we could not have done this,” he said. “They have really been a great help to me in Montgomery.”
The presentations were made in Andalusia City Hall.
Bentley announced $350,000 for Lockhart for a drainage system to improve Catawba and Cherokee avenues and Mohawk Street.
The project includes installation of 2,800 feet of drainage pipes.
Lockhart Mayor Eugene Birge said the $35,000 in matching funds required for the grant is a big investment for his town. The town receives very little revenue from property taxes, he said, because most residents are exempt.
“What helps us the most is beer sales,” he said. “We get about a penny a can, and that amounts to about $500 a month.”
The Town of Gantt received $250,000 to improve draining and resurface Central Street, which has not been resurfaced in about 40 years.
Mayor Missy Grissett said the city’s matching funds will come from several revenue sources. The town began pursuing these funds about six months ago, she said.
“We were totally surprised to be successful so soon,” she said.
“I want to thank Gov. Bentley; also Scott Farmer with the Southeast Alabama Planning Commission for writing the grant,” Grissett said. “Also, Mike Jones for helping push it through and also DMD Engineers for assisting us.”
The Town of Sanford received $84,839.
Mayor Chris Thomasson said Sanford will use the funds to pave Loop Road off of Hwy. 84, and will also add speed breakers.
“There is a church nearby that keeps requesting it,” he said.
The city’s portion will come from sales taxes, he said.
“We are growing, and that’s going to give us some money to do some things,” he said.
Also on hand for the presentations were ADECA director Jim Byard, Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson, County Commission Chairman Bill Godwin, Commissioner Kenneth Northey, and Chamber Executive Director Chrissie Duffy.
Both Jones and Holley thanked the governor for his hand in the grants.
“I’d like to thank Gov. Bentley for his help with these projects,” Jones said. “Small towns are what we’re about in Alabama.”