DRA awards $27.9M to Black Belt communities

Published 3:19 pm Monday, October 12, 2020

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The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) recently announced that $27,987,444 in investments had been handed out for 94 economic development projects in Black Belt communities across Alabama and the Delta.

“These announcements highlight the continued resiliency and dedication of Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt communities and residents to further economic growth in the coming year,” said DRA Fedeeral Co-Chair Christopher Caldwell in a newsletter, noting the Black Belt investments and others the group has taken part in over the last several months.

The 94 new investment projects will provide funding for a variety of projects, including water and sewer system improvements, access road construction and infrastructure repair, broadband service expansion the development of industry-led job training programs, support for healthcare services and more.

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“The Delta Regional Authority’s $27.9 million investment into 94 critical projects will strengthen economic success in the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt regions by improving vital infrastructure and creating opportunities to foster workforce development,” Caldwell said.  “These investments highlight the importance of local and regional public-private partnerships in realizing the long-term success of infrastructure, business, and workforce projects to spur job growth and ultimately improve business competitiveness in the region.”

Projects were funded across eight states, with the most, 19, slated for Louisiana and the least, four, planned for Missouri.

In Alabama, a total of 10 projects were funded as part of the recent investment – according to a DRA chart, the agency invested over $2.2 million in Alabama, with the total project investment coming in at more than $7.4 million, which created 236 jobs and retained another 82 while training more than 1,300 workers and affecting more than 4,200 families.

Funding for the projects is provided through the States’ Economic Development Assistance Program (SEDAP), which provides direct investment into community-based and regional projects to support an array of work, including infrastructure and education.

Additional support comes from the Community Infrastructure Fund (CIF), which targets physical infrastructure projects that help build safer and more resilient communities across the region.