Grant possibilities discussed at HARPO meeting

by Nicole Singleton

Last Tuesday, Laurel Land and Marshall Farmer from the Heart of Alabama Rural Planning Organization (HARPO) met at Oneonta City Hall with local groups to discuss grant possibilities for Blount County. Discussion centered on the Appalachian Regional Commission Grants administered by the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham.

The community planning assistance grant is geared to assist local governments by comprehensive area plans and studies, zoning ordinances and subdivision regulations, economic and market analysis, historic preservation, and transportation studies.

Other grants with the Appalachian Regional Commission included funding short-term projects with business development, education and training, health care, infrastructure, and leadership development listed as project possibilities.

Strategic goals for the Appalachian Regional Commission include job growth to increase job opportunities and per capita income, strengthening the capacity to compete in the global economy, development and improvement for infrastructure, and highway improvement to build the highway system and reduce isolation.

Also discussed at the meeting was the possibility of including geographic information system capabilities for Blount County. The virtual maps could assist officials with regulation and decisionmaking for road improvements and infrastructure. The map distinguishes between roads, wells, railroads, waterways, and others and is said to assist in determining employment population.

For more information on the grants, contact Yvonne Murray at 264-8428.