Thursday, January 2, 2014 | 12:01 AM
MONTGOMERY—Governor Robert Bentley recently announced more than $30 million in grants that will be awarded to 16 Alabama counties and municipalities devastated by the April 2011 tornadoes.
“Alabamians have worked hard to recover from the impact of the April 2011 tornadoes,” Governor Robert Bentley said. “We have seen a remarkable spirit of recovery in every area, but there are still effects from the tornadoes that communities need help to address. These grants will help Alabama communities continue the recovery process and become better places to live, work and raise a family. I appreciate Alabama’s Congressional delegation for helping to secure funding for the recovery process.”
This announcement is part of a special $49.1 million Community Development Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to aid continued disaster recovery. The funding announced Tuesday will address continuing needs for demolition and clearance, multi-family housing, construction of public buildings, road repairs, water and sewer services, drainage improvements and economic revitalization. The funding will also help with infrastructure and flood management improvements designed to minimize potential damage from any future storms. Alabama will submit an additional plan for projects to be funded with the remaining allocation at a later date.
Alabama began seeking additional funding shortly after the initial HUD funding was announced in order to meet the needed cost of the cleanup and recovery. Governor Bentley went to Washington D.C. in September 2012 to meet with HUD Director Shaun Donovan and request additional funding for Alabama.
Seven counties and nine municipalities receiving grants are:
In June 2011, Governor Bentley named the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) to manage long-term recovery efforts for the state.
“Having experienced tornado devastation within my own city while I was mayor of Prattville, I certainly know how important these grants are to the long-term recovery process for communities impacted by the tornadoes,” ADECA Director Jim Byard, Jr. said. “Governor Bentley and I are both committed to providing the necessary resources within our means to help restore normalcy to the areas hit hardest by the tornadoes.”
More than 250 people died and 2,200 were injured by multiple tornadoes and storms over a two-week period in April 2011. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, 6,237 houses and 1,275 mobile homes were destroyed.