Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Tuscaloosa County Not Happy over Tornado Funding

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Tuscaloosa County Not Happy over Tornado Funding

Article excerpt

Tuscaloosa County will likely receive $7.5 million in tornado relief grants, including money to install sanitary sewer throughout much of Holt.

But the Tuscaloosa County Commission expressed discontent Wednesday at the news because two of the five tornado relief projects the county applied for likely won't be funded at all. The commission plans to set up a meeting with state officials to express its concerns.

Commissioner Reginald Murray said the county has gotten the shaft in terms of federal funding for tornado relief.

"Something has to change," Murray said. "We are asking to meet with HUD so we can change the way things are going."

Initially, the county applied for tornado relief funding for the following affected areas:

- $7.1 million for the second through fifth phases of installing sanitary sewer in Holt. The first phase, worth $2.3 million, was already approved and is under design.

- $751,500 for the "Old Foundry" project to demolish part of the old Holt Elementary and turn it into a center for training and job creation, including the site of a new senior center.

- $1.3 million to install sanitary sewer in Friday Circle, an area in western Tuscaloosa County that received heavy damage during the April 27, 2011, tornado.

- $621,500 to rebuild portions of Will Walker Road, which was heavily damaged by trucks removing tornado-related debris.

- $135,000 for clearing tornado related debris in the county.

Of the five projects, only the sanitary sewer project in Holt and the $135,000 for clearing tornado-related debris received recommendation for approval by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. ADECA sent its recommendations to HUD, which is expected to give official notification of the grant recipients within the next 30 days, said Farrington Snipes, community and economic development director for Tuscaloosa County.

ADECA recommended that the Old Foundry project in Holt be given $80,000 of the $751,000, which would only be enough to demolish some of the old Holt Elementary buildings and perhaps bring some fill dirt into the site, Snipes said. …

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