MONTGOMERY – Improvements and enhancements are coming to seven Alabama communities with the help of $1.4 million in Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grants announced today by Gov. Kay Ivey. Of that total, a combined $400,000 was awarded to the City of Cullman and Cullman City Schools, according to a press release from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA).
ADECA reports the following:
City of Cullman – $200,000 to help fund 12 miles of fiber optic cable to provide high-capacity broadband internet service to downtown businesses, city hall, the water and sewer plant, the County Courthouse, an industrial park and other “anchor” institutions in the city. Matching funds of $587,000 have been committed to the project.
Cullman City Schools – $200,000 to provide updated interactive displays and software in K-12 classrooms to enhance student learning of science, technology, engineering, arts and math concepts. Matching funds of $200,000 have been committed to the project.
The grants will help complete projects that increase tourism opportunities, enhance learning, improve critical infrastructure and provide important services.
“Appalachian Regional Commission grants do so much to help Alabama communities complete projects that their budgets cannot alone support,” Ivey said. “I am so appreciative to have these funds available to meet needs and support valuable programs that impact so many people.”
Other grant recipients are:
-Franklin County Commission – $200,000 to help alleviate flooding concerns by repairing and replacing storm drainage infrastructure in the Oak Hills neighborhood. Other funds of $620,087 have been committed to complete the project.
-Jones Valley Teaching Farm in Birmingham – $75,000 to support and expand the Good School Food Program which teaches students in Jefferson County about farming and healthy eating. Matching funds of $75,000 have been committed to the program.
-State Parks Division of Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources – $200,000 to develop a 25-site RV campground at Cathedral Caverns State Park in Marshall County. The State Parks Division has committed matching funds of $376,715 toward the project.
-Town of Phil Campbell Waterworks and Sewer Board – $83,545 to improve sewer service by replacing 45 deteriorating manholes at sites throughout the town.
-Sylacauga Alliance for Family Enhancement – $175,000 for a program offered at select pre-k schools in Talladega County that helps families with children ages 3-5 develop problem solving, language and logical-thinking skills. Matching funds of $75,000 will support the program.
-City of Tuskegee – $300,000 to upgrade and extend public water service to a new commercial development at exit 38 off Interstate 85, resulting in new job opportunities. Local matching funds of $118,475 will supplement the grant.
ADECA administers the ARC program in Alabama. Thirty-seven counties in Alabama are part of the ARC region and eligible for funds, which could be cut under current federal budget proposals.
"ARC programs through the years have positively impacted so many Alabama communities and regions in the ways of infrastructure improvements, education and economic opportunities,” ADECA Director Jim Byard Jr. said. "I am proud of ADECA’s partnership with ARC and the improvements that program has made in numerous Alabama communities during the last 50 years.”
ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation. During a period of October 2015 to January 2017 ARC has funded 64 projects in Alabama totaling $11.2 million and resulted in 900 jobs and trained or educated 14,000 students or workers for new or advancement jobs.
ADECA administers an array of programs supporting law enforcement and traffic safety, economic development, energy conservation, workforce development, water resource management and recreation development.