City set to receive $3.7M for recovery projects
by Jennifer Cohron
Aug 20, 2013 | 1973 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The city of Cordova is set to receive $3.7 million of the $9.2 million officials recently requested from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs for tornado recovery.

Two of the four projects submitted by the city, realigning Main Street and construction of a combined City Hall and library, are included in a proposed disaster action plan posted to ADECA’s website on Monday.

Two others, construction of a new police station and a fire station, were not approved for funding.

Mayor Drew Gilbert said news that the fire department had not made the cut was surprising. It was ranked second behind a new City Hall on the city’s priority list of projects submitted to ADECA.

However, he is choosing to focus on the positives in Monday’s announcement.

“We are getting a large sum of money to help anchor our downtown area,” Gilbert said.

The action plan details how ADECA intends to distribute the $49.1 million that Alabama is receiving from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for unmet needs associated with the April 2011 tornadoes.

The document calls for $11 million to be set aside for single family housing and approximately $2.5 million to be spent on administration costs.

The remaining $35.6 million is slated to be divided between 15 communities for a total of 26 projects.

If the plan is approved by HUD, Cordova will be awarded $3,120,524 for a new City Hall/library and $585,378 for the realignment of Main Street.

The funds must be spent within two years of HUD’s authorization.

During the application process, ADECA received requests from 19 communities for 50 projects totaling nearly $97.8 million.

Gilbert said after crunching all the numbers, he believes Cordova received a fair share of the fiscal pie.

The five “most impacted” counties as identified by HUD — Tuscaloosa, Jefferson, DeKalb, Cullman, Franklin and Marion — were required to receive nearly half of the total $49.1 million allocation.

“If you look at it logically, they gave us 10 percent of the total award without us being in one of the hardest-hit counties. In my mind, that is the maximum dollar amount they could have possibly given us,” Gilbert said.

Still, local officials must now devise a new plan for Cordova Fire and Rescue, which is currently based at the VFW.

The department was located in the gym of the old high school until its recent demolition.

Gilbert said several options are on the table for the fire department, including using insurance proceeds to remodel the VFW into a joint services facility if the site could accommodate it.

The police department is already housed there.

“It’s bittersweet that now it’s back to the drawing board for the fire department, but this is what I signed up for. We’re going to come up with a great solution, and we’re going to be able to serve the public of Cordova with what we have,” Gilbert said.

ADECA is accepting comments on the disaster action plan through Monday, Aug. 26. The final action plan will be submitted to HUD by Friday, Aug. 30.