Grants to assist with improvements in three north Alabama counties

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MONTGOMERY – Community Development Block Grants totaling $1.47 million awarded by Gov. Robert Bentley will help make improvements and upgrades in St. Clair, Blount and Cullman counties.

The governor awarded grants to three communities in Cullman County:  The city of Cullman is receiving a $450,000 grant for water and sewer improvements; the town of Fairview will use a $250,000 grant to construct a new senior center; and a $174,781 grant to Holly Pond will help the town establish a food bank.

Bentley awarded a $350,000 grant to help Blount County extend and improve water service and awarded $350,000 to help the town of Steele in St. Clair County to construct a fire station.

“Community Development Block Grants provide a helping hand to local government leaders with a vision for building a stronger community,” Bentley said. “These upgrades, repairs and additions will improve the lives of many Alabamians by making their neighborhoods more desirable places to call home.”

The city of Cullman will replace more than 3,000 feet of sewer lines and 2,800 feet of water lines in the Brunner Street neighborhood. The project also will replace storm drains and sidewalks and add new fire hydrants. Construction will take place along Brunner and Grafenstatte streets and Cleveland and Louis avenues. The city has committed $299,597 toward the project.

Fairview will construct a new senior center on Welcome Road along the town’s walking trail. The center will include a 4,500 square-foot multipurpose room, a kitchen and restrooms. The town received a separate grant of $153,213 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Hazardous Mitigation Grant Program to construct a tornado safe room that will be part of the senior center. Fairview is contributing $120,000 to the project.

Holly Pond is assisting Carpenter’s Cabinet, a local non-profit organization, in acquiring a foreclosed property to be renovated and opened as a food bank for low- and moderate-income residents. Carpenter’s Cabinet officials said they expect to serve 200-300 individuals and families in the food bank’s first year. Local matching funds of $7,761 will supplement the grant.

Blount County will provide reliable public water service to nine households on Frost Drive and Frost Road, 10 miles south of Oneonta by installing 4,637 feet of water lines. Another phase of the project will upgrade water service for 62 households currently experiencing low water pressure on Huffstutler and King roads, just off Alabama Highway 75 six miles north of Oneonta, by installing 7,150 feet of PVC water lines and five fire hydrants. The county is contributing $43,000 to the project.

Steele is building a 1,600-square-foot metal firehouse on Herb Collette Drive on the east side of town. Town officials say the new station is needed because maintenance issues with the train tracks that divide the town have caused trains to stall, blocking roads and cutting off the east side from fire emergency services. The facility will have two bays for fire vehicles along with restrooms and a storage area. The town is committing $25,000 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.

Bentley notified Mayors Max Townson of Cullman, Dale Seals of Fairview, Herman Nail of Holly Pond, John Wilcox of Steele and Blount County Commission Chairman Chris Green that the grants had been approved.