The News Courier in Athens, Alabama


August 18, 2009

Athens, Limestone seeing benefits of stimulus funds


• $250,000 to build a new senior center at Tanner;

• $100,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission to create a faster and more reliable connection between telephones and computers between county buildings; this improvement also allows judges to arraign jail prisoners via videoconference, which saves time and prevents having to transport prisoners to the courthouse.

Within the next year to 18 months, the videoconference equipment will be used for industrial recruitment, said Revenue Enhancement Director Rodney Jackson who worked with Grant Coordinator Sonya Anthony to obtain the stimulus money.

• $100,000 for heating, cooling and plumbing for the event center to be constructed just west of the Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives.

That work should be under way within 90 days, Jackson said.

• $59,400 from a juvenile accountability grant to pay for ankle bracelets with global positioning units that are used to monitor some offenders and for outpatient drug program;

• $17,884 in stimulus money in the form of the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program through the Justice Department for video equipment, which county commissioners accepted Monday.

Jackson said the county would have been eligible for the Justice Department grant and other grants in previous years but this year it was paid with stimulus funds.

• Money for the Rails-to-Trails project.

The wish lists of city and county officials were much larger than the money supply.

“You could call it our hope list since Barack Obama campaigned on hope,” Rich said.

“We put in for 20 or more projects through our local delegation and the congressional delegation.”

Jackson said the cooperation among judges, county officials and law-enforcement officials in Limestone makes it easier to obtain grants and stimulus funds.

Much of the federal money for projects was spent on paving existing roadways because those projects do not require engineering and environmental approvals, which take time.

City and county residents did benefit from stimulus money the state received because it was spent to improve U.S. 31.

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