Mobile is receiving nearly $40 million in money related to the Deepwater Horizon disaster, money that will help pay for watershed restoration, a cross-city greenway, a new Africatown welcome center and other projects.
Other project approved in the region include four in Fairhope with a value of $18 million.
The Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council voted Wednesday on projects that would receive money from RESTORE Act funds. The money comes from a trust fund created with civil penalties from the oil release, and generally is meant to “restore and protect the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, coastal wetlands, and economy of the Gulf Coast region.”
According to information released late Wednesday by the city of Mobile, awards announced by the council include:
Historic Africatown Welcome Center — $3.58 for a collaboration between the Africatown Community Development Corporation and the Mobile County Commission. The center and a related tourism program will preserve and celebrate the unique history of the Africatown community.
Innovating St. Louis Street: Mobile’s Technology Corridor — $5.9 million to redesign and reconstruct infrastructure on St. Louis St. a downtown corridor undergoing rapid redevelopment.
Mobile Greenway Initiative — $9.7 million for a multi-use path along Three Mile Creek, connecting downtown to Langan Municipal Park and the University of South Alabama campus for walkers, runners and cyclists. The city has already build the first section of the trail and has engineered much of the remainder.
Three Mile Creek Watershed Restoration — $11.8 million that will restore the lake in Langan Park, stabilize sections of Twelve Mile Creek, and improve water quality in Three Mile Creek.
One Mobile: Reconnecting People, Work and Play through Complete Streets — $1.25 million to improve the road bed and utilities along the corridor formed by Beauregard Street, Broad Street and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. This grant supplements a federal TIGER grant funding major improvements along Broad Street.
Mobile Area Storm Water Mapping & Resiliency Planning — $3 million for a city-county collaboration intended to improve resiliency “in the face of flooding, extreme weather events, climate hazards and changing ocean conditions.”
Perch Creek Area Sanitary Sewer Trunk Line — $3.5 million for a collaboration with the Mobile Area Water and Sewer Service that will reduce sewer overflows and improve water quality in the Perch Creek area off Dauphin Island Parkway near Dog River.
Working Waterfront and Greenspace Restoration — $6.2 million.
Fairhope Area Community-Based Comprehensive Land Use Plan — $650,000
Fairhope Sewer Upgrade Phase I — $10,000,000
Eastern Shore Sanitary Sewer Overflow Prevention Plan — $1 million.
“I applaud my colleagues on the Alabama Council for championing these transformational projects,” Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said in a statement about the funding. “Mobile is a city closely connected to the water, and as one of the largest ports in the country, we were devastated by the BP oil disasters. Citizens lost their jobs, entire industries suffered and many felt hopeless for the future. These projects will ultimately connect citizens to our waterways, stimulate economic activity and revive historically significant areas in our community.”
“We are thrilled that the entire RESTORE Act Council saw it fit to approve the Fairhope-sponsored projects,” Mayor Karin Wilson said in a statement on Facebook. “The Deepwater Horizon oil spill sent a shock wave through the relationship between our quality of life, our ecosystem, and our economy. These projects, as well as those presented and approved by our counterparts across Baldwin and Mobile counties, will make incredible strides to restore the balance of our fragile ecosystem while also sustaining our region as we experience more and more growth and increased tourism.”