Civic Lecture: Singleton wants roadwork and Turner in Washington, D.C.
Published 12:00 am Monday, March 8, 2004
State Representative Bobby Singleton of Greensboro doesn’t want to be drawn into the fight over the proposed landfill in Uniontown.
“I’ve kind of tried to stay out of that fight and let it be local,” he said. “I’m not running from the particular issue….I wanted to see how things were really going to pan out.” Singleton represents the 72nd District, which includes Marengo, Hale, Bibb and Perry Counties.
“Sooner or later we’ve got to do something with the expense of garbage (as the community grows). I worked in the industry of wastewater development for about 14 years. We also did landfill regulation for EPA (the Environmental Protection Agency). I do have some knowledge about landfills. I know they can be safe; then I know at some point they can be harmful.”
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People in the area have gotten some good and also some misleading information about the landfill, Singleton said. He believes the passion and pride shown by residents of Uniontown against the landfill can be turned into something positive.
“We can take that pride and clean Uniontown and make Uniontown a viable marketplace right there on Highway 80,” he said. “If Demopolis can strive on Highway 80, so can Uniontown.
“I’ve been meeting with the highway department about Highway 80 being four-laned. He has been meeting with Senator Hank Sanders, Senator Charles Steele and Representative Thomas Jackson (whose districts all include Marengo County) along with Representatives James L. Thomas (Dallas, Lowndes, Wilcox)
and Yusuf Salaam (Dallas County) about a four lane highway.
They are looking at the concept, promoted by U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, of an Interstate 85 through the Black Belt. “The real issue is where do we go with Highway 80 once we get to Uniontown.” The representatives and Uniontown Mayor Philip White want to talk to the Alabama Department of Transportation concerning where the Uniontown bypass fits into the five-year plan.
Overall, Singleton sees public and private partnerships as the way for the Black Belt to grow. There are projects he is working on that he cannot yet announce, but “we trying to bring in other private businesses…financial corporations and also service industries to help provide jobs.
“…It’s not going to be all government entities that are going to make it happen,” he said.
We have to think outside the box and be creative….It’s
not just going to come from government grants. We have to go and build a relationship with private industry. Perry County and Marengo County are prime areas.”
Singleton is also a supporter of the development of the City of Greensboro’s own Internet and cable system. “We believe it is going to stimulate the economy there,” he said. Approximately $7.5 million is leaving Greensboro through technology expenses. “We can capitalize some of that money back into the (local) economy and be able to strengthen our tax base.
“We want to put a computer in every home,” and he wants to train local workers and families to be “IT (information technology) literate….We want to build ‘a smart city.'”
“…We’re looking at recruiting call centers to the area,” Singleton said. “All of those jobs are going to South Africa, India and Morocco. I’ve been doing some traveling, visiting with some people, trying to get those IT jobs right back into our area.”
As another way to improve conditions in the Black Belt, Singleton supports Albert Turner Jr. in his campaign for the Seventh Congressional District. He praises Turner’s ability to relate to the people. “He was born and raised in the district, understands the area, understands the needs of the district and its people.
Turner’s experience as assistant director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) gives “insight in terms of his ability to deliver the kind of services that are needed,” Singleton said.
think it’s really time for somebody who has the sensitivity for the people and is sincere about it.
“There have been a lot of promises (from Congressman Artur Davis),” he said. “The people were looking for someone who was going to be sincere about the delivery of services….I
hear him (Davis) say a lot he wants to do for the Black Belt. I don’t see a real plan.”
Singleton said he has heard of Davis’ Initiative 7 project, “but a lot of that is concentrated on projects that are already in progress….It’s
a beautiful concept…in terms of helping businesses, but there has to be a lot more substance put into it.”
“…I think Albert would be a great Congressman,” he said. Turner has “the vision for this particular area and the ability to implement that vision and put it into action.”