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Officials have eyes set on federal funds

By Staff
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
A delegation of Hartselle government and business leaders will visit with congressional leaders in the nation's capitol March 1-3 to seek funding for seven different community improvement projects.
Mayor Dwight Tankersley will head up a group of elected officials consisting of council members K.T. (Kenny) Thompson, Samie Wiley, Bill Smelser and Mark Mizell and District 2 Morgan County Commissioner Richard Lyons. Other delegates will be Hartselle Area Chamber of Commerce President Susan Hines and Board Chairman Doug Moss, Ferrell Vest, Hartselle Utilities general manager, Jeremy Nails, president of the Morgan County Economic Development Association, Bob Francis, chairman of the Hartselle Development Board and Dewayne Hellums, transportation director for the Decatur Metropolitan Planning Organization.
The delegation will fly to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, March 1 and meet with Congressmen Bud Cramer, D-Huntsville, and Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville, and Senators Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, and Jeff Sessions, R-Mobile, on Thursday and Friday, March 2-3.
"I feel good about who's going as well as the timing of our visit," Tankersley said. "We should be able to talk privately with all of our congressional and senatorial representatives as well as their office staffs. This will enable us to present a strong case for our funding needs."
Topping the city's list of needs is additional federal funding for the Alabama Hwy. 36 extension and widening project. A commitment of $1.3 million was made to the project in 2005.
The city is asking for $3.5 million more to help upgrade Highway 36 from I-65 to Roan Road from a two-lane to a five-lane roadway.
The project represents the second phase of a four-phase north downtown bypass beginning at Highway 31 and Longhorn Pass and ending at Highway 36 and I-65. The first phase involves the construction of a two-lane roadway from North Sparkman Street and Longhorn Pass to Georgia Street, including the replacement of the old wooden Hammitt Street railroad bridge. Engineering is 75 per cent complete and construction of the $1.5 state-funded project is expected to begin late this year or in early 2007.
Matching grants are also being sought for the following: