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$76k given out to local organizations

ALA-TOM RD&C grants $5,000 to the Cahaba River Canoe Ramp Project. From left to right Hank Sanders, Kristen Duke, Dario Melton, Kim Ballard, Aubrey Carter and Johnny Jones. Not pictured is Jim Hodo with Forever Wild. -- Ashley Johnson

A caravan of cars drove around town delivering big giant checks, and it had nothing to do with Publishers Clearing House.

Alabama-Tombigbee Resource Conversation and Development presented seven giant checks to various organizations for projects having to do with the development of resources both natural and human. The checks, totaling in $76,000, will go towards a spectrum of organizations ranging from ones that will affect economic development to projects with the arts and education and even wildlife and the outdoors.

The grants ranged in size as well from $3,000 to $50,000.

The check signing began at the Arts Revive building where five checks were awarded. The Arts Revive Carneal Building was given a grant for $3,000 and these funds were used to renovate the courtyard pavilion.

Leadership Selma-Dallas County was given a $5,000 grant to help with their youth leadership program, which develops youth into having effective leadership skills and the ability to work in diverse community settings.

The Selma Police Athletic League was given a $3,000 grant to help develop their computer and educational lab and improve its software. This lab is specifically for after school programs and with this grant they can now provide healthy snacks for the students. Five Points Education and Resource Center was also given a $3,000 grant for their educational programs in tutoring students from ages five to 18 in all subject areas. The Dallas County Board of Education was given a grant for $7,000 for their Drop-out Prevention Program. The school board plans to work specifically on improving skills like reading and communication in the students as well as behavior issues to prevent them from dropping out and increase their opportunities for successful careers.

Noopie Cosby with The Cosby Company helped in arranging the grants that were given by the ALA-TOM RC&D. Cosby acts as a liaison between organizations and private sector companies and the legislature. This in turn allows him to recommend and seek out those that have the highest need for grant funding. He explained how ALA-TOM works and is able to give out funding.

“The council for Dallas County is called ALA-TOM RC&D and the council receives funding from the legislature,” Cosby said. ‘Then the funding goes to community projects that enhance the conservation of natural resources, human and natural, and the development of them.”

The main players involved with ALA-TOM RC&D were all in attendance to hand out the grants on the giant checks. Probate Judge Kim Ballard, Judge Johnny Jones, Kristen Duke with Soil and Water conservation, Senator Hank Sanders, State Rep. Dario Melton, and Aubrey Carter with Alabama Power are all on the council for ALA-TOM RD&C.

The caravan was not finished after the presentation at Arts Revive. They then traveled to Craig Airfield to present them with $50,000 and Cahaba River Canoe Ramp Project with $ 5,000.

The Airfield was the largest grant and in turn the largest project to affect economic development.

Executive Director for Craig Field Airport and Industrial Authority, Menzo Driskell, said the grant provided help for the construction and furnishing of the airport terminal building.

“This is the new front door for Selma and Dallas County and it makes us look more like an airport,” Driskell said. “We have a conference room, a room dedicated to flight training, a sheriff deputy office here, there is a managers office and a pilots lounge.” And that was just naming a few of the features the airport terminal building houses.

“ALA-TOM RC&D was kind enough to provide another $50,000 in funding,” Driskell said. “And with that we did some ground work and preparation work and furnished the building.”