Eight states waiting for release of Delta funding

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Demopolis isn’t alone. For that matter, Alabama isn’t alone.

John Clyde Riggs, executive director of the Alabama-Tombigbee Regional Commission, sat in on a call earlier this week with the eight states that make up the Delta Regional Authority. And of those states, none has received money for projects approved last year.

The money, of course, has particular importance for Demopolis. In October 2002, U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby and former Gov. Don Siegelman announced that Demopolis had received $1.25 million to build a higher education center. And the city of Demopolis had lofty plans for the money.

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In a council meeting toward the end of 2002, Mayor Austin Caldwell and council members suggested they wanted to complete the new center by the fall of 2003.

Caldwell, just like everyone else, is waiting on the proper paperwork in order to begin the design stage of the higher education center.

On Monday, U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby sent out a new press release discussing the 2003 funding for the DRA.

Despite that promise of more money, the funding for 2002 projects still has not been received.

One of the greatest problems Riggs has seen in the release of the DRA money is credibility.

In years past, the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs has been charged with dispersing the money to places like Demopolis.

But Riggs said there is a movement among most of the states &045; and the federal government &045; for the USDA Rural Development Agency to handle the money.