By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced that the Delta Regional Authority had awarded over a million dollars in seven awards.
The Delta Regional Authority, together with their federal and local-based partners, will support public and private partnerships and bring $7.1 million in new investments to Alabama.
“The Delta Regional Authority is an essential partner to Alabama in helping us meet the needs of the most rural parts of our state,” Ivey said. “By investing more than $1 million in our state, DRA is helping rural communities strengthen their infrastructure, improve economic opportunities, and increase access to important cultural enhancements.”
The investments were made through the DRA States’ Economic Development Assistance Program, the agency’s main federal funding program that invests in basic public infrastructure, transportation infrastructure, workforce development and small business and entrepreneurship projects.
“This new funding will continue to spur economic growth and opportunities in rural Alabama,” U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said in a statement. “Monroeville, Carrollton, Tuskegee, Camden, Selma, and Perry County, as well as the entire state, will benefit from these investments, and I am grateful for the partnership Alabama continues to have with the DRA.”
Alabama is one of eight states to receive DRA investments. The agency’s total investments in the Mississippi River Delta Region and Black Belt of Alabama will reach $20 million in 2017. With contributions from public and private partners, total investments will be $231.6 million.
“These investments in Alabama align with DRA’s efforts to help create new jobs, support infrastructure improvements and create job opportunities,” DRA alternate federal co-chairman, Peter Kinder, said. “Our resources will provide sanitary sewer services to rural residents, build community capacity and help attract new businesses to the Black Belt of Alabama. This effort highlights DRA’s ability to build public-private partnerships to invest in the future of the Delta region.”
The city of Monroeville was awarded $256,500 for industrial park building enhancement. DRA’s investment will support a new production facility fully equipped with the most modern digitally controlled, special effect and package printing press. 60 new jobs will be added.
Carrollton will receive $180,000 for sewer system improvements. Carrollton will use this investment to address major deficiencies in the town’s wastewater treatment system, and improvements will be made to prevent the failure of its wastewater system, address regulatory and compliance issue and allow the town to provide sanitary sewer service to residents and businesses.
The city of Tuskegee will receive $280,000 for a project to advance the area’s economic competitiveness and productivity of the workforce. DRA’s investment will result in the immediate creation of 35 jobs for predominantly low and moderate income persons, promote economic development to increase the city and county tax base and enhance Exit 38 as a gateway to the city of Tuskegee.
The city of Camden–Ivey’s hometown–will receive $200,000 for improvements to Bridgeport Park. DRA’s investment will help improve and expand the city of Camden’s infrastructure to support existing economic development initiatives and benefit the local business community.
The city of Selma was awarded $58,424 for an investment into the ArtsRevive Community Development Corporation. The award will support advancement of the Carneal Cultural Arts Center. This effort will increase tourism, foster entrepreneurism in the local cultural arts and anchor creative places making activities to energize and improve the downtown economic corridor.
Camden also received $29,328 for the Alabama Tombigbee Regional Commission’s efforts to expand its Job Access and Reverse Commute program that provides various transportation needs to low-and-moderate-income residents seeking to obtain and maintain employment.
Perry County received a DRA investment of $42,000 to provide safe roads for employees to commute to and from their jobs and maintain the suitability of roads for local businesses, which will have a positive impact on the local economy. The project will provide full depth reclamation, paving, striping and traffic markers for nine miles on County Road 12.
“I applaud the Delta Regional Authority for their continued investment in Alabama’s rural communities, including their help funding the enhancement of the industrial park in Monroeville,” U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne said. “These investments will help spur economic development, boost infrastructure, and increase the quality of life for Alabama’s citizens. I pledge to continue working with the Delta Regional Authority and community partners to benefit our state’s communities.”
“The Delta Regional Authority’s generous investment in the state of Alabama is going to have an immediate impact for our rural communities,” U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Selma, said in a statement. “Today’s announcement takes a step towards addressing some of the most pressing issues in rural Alabama, such as infrastructure development and job growth, while also facilitating creative arts programs and boosting tourism.”
“I am pleased to see these economic investments being made – especially in Tuskegee – where good paying jobs can be hard to find,” U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Saks, said. “Enhancing Exit 38 off of I-85 is a welcomed improvement, and I appreciate DRA investing in East Alabama.”
The Delta Regional Authority is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 to help create jobs, build communities and improve lives through strategic investments in economic development in 252 counties and parishes across eight states.
To date, the DRA’s SEDAP investments, together with its state and local partners, have leveraged more than $3.7 billion in public and private investments into local small business owners, entrepreneurs, workers and infrastructure development projects. These investments have helped create or retain more than 37,000 jobs, trained more than 7,300 workers for 21st century jobs and provided water and sewer services to more than 66,000 residents since DRA was established.
Gov. Ivey said that this was an, “exciting day for each of you as well as for the state of Alabama.”
“ADECA manages the DRA program for Alabama,” Ivey said. “Their awards are not but handouts but are instead investments to improve the quality of life for our people.”
“I hope to continue to work with Governor Ivey and Ken Boswell at ADECA,” said Co-Chairman Kinder, who grew up on a cotton farm north of Memphis, Tennessee.