Haleyville receives $1.6 million in grants

Haleyville Mayor Ken Sunseri shows the new playground at Rocky Ravine Park.

HALEYVILLE     -  A $500,000 Community Development Block Grant, is just one of many ongoing improvement projects showering blessings upon the City of Haleyville during the season for giving thanks.
Water, sewer and paving improvements at housing authorities at Carl Elliott Heights on Newburg Road, Armory Drive and Jordan Street have been estimated to cost $710,089.76, with the CDBG grant covering $500,000, with a total local match of $210,089.76.
This local match will be divided, with the water department providing $54,734.78, and the city providing $155,354.98.
“This is our second time to apply for the grant,” stated Haleyville Mayor Ken Sunseri. “We were turned down last year, but we got it this year.
State Representative Tracy Estes was thrilled to inform Sunseri that the grant had been approved.
“I am grateful to see these funds directed back to our community, as they are so desperately needed to make these improvements. I have been honored to work closely with the mayor and city council in the application process. Anytime we can bring state grant funds back to our area is a good day. I’m always thrilled to partner with the community on projects such as these. But being able to announce such success is extra special,”  Estes said.
“There have been numerous areas throughout town that we just need to do rehabilitation on,” Sunseri stated.  “If we had the finances available, we’d do a lot more paving than we’re doing, but in the last two years, we’ve spent over  $1 million in paving out of city funds, not out of grant funds.
“Just in the past three weeks,  we’ve gotten $1.6 million in grants,” Sunseri emphasized.
“This is a project we’ve been wanting to do for a long time,” Sunseri pointed out about the water, sewer and paving project for the housing authority locations. “We were finally able to get the funding to make this project a reality.
Residents in the housing authority areas mentioned above have been faced with deteriorating roads and a lack of proper sewage flow, according to residents.  Potholes throughout these areas have been hardships.
“When that mail lady pulls in, she gets stuck and spins (her tires) every day,” said Dewayne Tumlin, a resident of Carl Elliott Heights on Newburg Road.
Tumlin said the road conditions through the housing authority have been bad the entire time he has lived there the past four years.
“It’s bad on your tires, too,” Tumlin said.
Scotty Burleson, who also lives in a unit there, stated that road conditions have caused a resident to fall before. He also  talked about backed-up sewage problems.
“It’s getting to where you can’t go through the area without messing up your car,” Burleson said.   “I think they’ve had to dig up some of the (sewer) lines, too.”
Burleson believes the improvements will greatly help the community.
“It’s needed for the senior citizens over here,” Burleson stated.
Sunseri informed all residents affected by this project that the city often faces delays in projects due to equipment breakdowns and other unforeseen circumstances.
“These are things that come up every day,” Sunseri said. “It’s not something unusual. The cost of fuel has gone up tremendously over the last three years and that has affected how much money we have to budget toward projects.
“We only have sales tax, property tax and a few other taxes coming in.  Approximately 45 percent of that goes to salaries and employee benefits,” Sunseri said.  “That leaves a small amount available to do paving, equipment repair and  all of the things the city has to do on a regular basis.
“So, anytime we are able to obtain federal or state funding, that’s less money we have to put into it, and it’s definitely a major, major benefit to us,” Sunseri continued.
A summary of the projects at the housing authority locations includes asphalt resurfacing, striping, parallel parking place creation, handicap parking and a pedestrian crosswalk,  curbing and gutter replacement and water and sewer line improvements.
Now that the grant funding has been awarded, the next step will be doing an environmental study, which will take the project into 2024, with plans to bid out the project by February or March, Sunseri explained.
Sunseri stressed he was pleased with support and guidance on available grants given to the city by their state legislators for such projects.

City showered with blessings

Looking over the past year, the city has a lot to be thankful about, including the completion of runway improvements at the airport thanks to  $1.2 million in outside funding, paving at Brookhaven Subdivision and an access road to Bassett Outdoor Furniture being built, the mayor said.
A long-awaited project is expected to begin around Nov. 28, the addition of a turning lane on Highway 195 at 20th Avenue, which travels to Haleyville City Schools, the mayor further informed.

Steps at Rocky Ravine Park

The city has twice applied for a Recreational Trails grant to rebuild deteriorated steps in Rocky Ravine Park, but has been denied, Sunseri pointed out. The first application was for $220,000, the second for $177,000, he said.
“We’d like to make a portion of City Lake handicap accessible that can come partially into Rocky Ravine,” Sunseri stated, “but there’s been a problem trying to get funding for it.”
The Haleyville City Council voted to spend around $27,500, to rebuild wooden steps leading down the side of the rocky bluff from the Rocky Ravine parking area, the mayor informed.
The city has also received a $270,000 Assistance to Firefighters Grant through the Federal Emergency Management Agency which will provide 32 air packs for the Haleyville Fire Department.  
 Along with this grant, the city has also received $858,000 for major renovations and repairs at the Haleyville Sewer Plant, including drying beds and a new security system.
Estes noted that he will continue to work with the city to find ways to bring funding in  for projects to benefit all residents.
“ I will continue working to do my part to bring future funding for other projects back to Haleyville, as I have throughout my tenure in office,”  Estes said.



See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.
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