City must get 2011 grant resolved

Published 12:28 pm Monday, May 5, 2014

We hope the city of Demopolis will not have to come up with $400,000 to repay a grant from three years ago.

With more than $1 million already pledged for street resurfacing and a bridge replacement, writing a check to ADECA for that amount would hurt.

However, the city can’t let this issue linger indefinitely either.

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Demopolis was awarded the grant to rehab a railroad spur at the industrial park on Highway 80 West. The revamped railroad was to bring with it 100 jobs — most of those at Ctco Shipyward.

Tragedy struck when Ctco’s owner died unexpectedly, which stopped the company’s plans for expansion.

The barge builder’s closing was unforeseen and left Demopolis dry docked — with a new railroad but no one to use it.

Three years have now passed, and it’s time to get the issue resolved.

What happened is really no one’s fault, but it has dragged out for too long. It was good to hear city auditor Richard LeCroy talk about contacting ADECA and working on a solution.

The people at ADECA seem like reasonable people, and we believe they will take into account what happened as well as the jobs that were created by the improved railroad.

Since 2011, other cities and counties have received community block development grants for worthwhile projects.

Close to home, the Marengo County Commission received $250,000 last March to turn the old armory in Linden into a business incubator.

We could use some of this money for Demopolis projects, but as long as the 2011 grant remains unresolved, the city can’t apply for any more funds.

That should be the catalyst for getting the issue behind the city as soon as possible.