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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce


Press Release

U.S. EDA Continues Administration Support for Tornado Recovery in Alabama

Gov. Robert Bentley, U.S. Senator Richard Shelby Applaud Federal Government Response to April Disaster

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration (EDA) today announced $500,000 in investments to help communities in Alabama recover from the devastation of the April 2011 tornadoes and thunderstorms that tore through the Southeast region of the country, damaging businesses, leaving thousands homeless and claiming hundreds of lives.

"As President Obama told the people of Alabama and the country after the tornadoes, we can't control when or where a terrible storm may strike, but we can control how we respond to it," said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John R. Fernandez. "This EDA grant is the latest in a series of efforts taken by this Administration to support local recovery efforts and get the regional economy back on track."

"Communities across Alabama have demonstrated remarkable resilience, but fully recovering from April's devastating storms will take time and a lot of support," said Alabama Governor Robert Bentley. "These grants from EDA provide local officials with additional planning and technical assistance as they work to rebuild community facilities and restore a vibrant local economy."

"The recovery from the tornado system that devastated Alabama in April has been long and arduous. I continue to be impressed by the resilience of Alabamians in the wake of the tragedy. These grants will assist them in restoring and rebuilding our state to be even stronger than it was before," said U.S. Senator Richard Shelby.

The massive storms caused destruction across a number of Southern states, particularly Alabama. These new EDA investments will address both immediate and long-term recovery needs in the state by providing planning and technical assistance to impacted communities. Regional development staff will be able to help identify and implement activities that assist the region and recovering businesses and industries in preparing for, protecting against, and recovering from future economic disruptions.

The investments announced today include:

  • $100,000 to the West Alabama Regional Commission of Northport to assist local leadership and economic development professionals in hard hit areas like Tuscaloosa with business and industry recovery.
  • $100,000 to the Top of Alabama Regional Council of Governments of Huntsville to develop an economic recovery and resiliency plan to facilitate long-term growth through coordination of resources, prioritization of rebuilding efforts and regional collaboration.
  • $100,000 to the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham to develop a disaster response and preparedness plan that focuses on protecting infrastructure and businesses and enabling local governments to provide both proactive and reactive assistance to their citizens.
  • $100,000 to the Northwest Alabama Council of Local Governments of Muscle Shoals to support the development of a disaster recovery plan for the towns of Hackleburg and Phil Campbell that will facilitate the implementation and coordination of disaster recovery activities throughout the region.
  • $100,000 to the North Central Alabama Regional Council of Governments of Decatur to create a strategic recovery and resiliency plan that will maximize opportunities for the sustainable redevelopment of housing, infrastructure, municipal facilities and services, and local economies through enhanced coordination.

According to Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the April tornadoes represented the worst tornado outbreak since 1974. Following the disaster, President Obama visited Alabama and toured the damage with Governor Bentley. He immediately ordered the Federal Government to act quickly with response services and approved a request for emergency assistance.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration:

The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.