NEWS: DRA, federal partner invest $75,000 to support business development in Selma

January 05, 2018

Economic Development Administration provides funding support

SELMA, AL.  – The Delta Regional Authority (DRA), through a program partnership with the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), today announced a $75,000 investment to help build a high-speed Wi-Fi network in downtown Selma.

“Convenient access to high-speed internet is becoming a necessity in today’s digital world,” Gov. Kay Ivey said. “I greatly appreciate the Delta Regional Authority and the Economic Development Administration for helping complete the important first phase of the Selma Innovation District which will provide reliable Wi-Fi service to the businesses and residents of downtown Selma as well as the many visitors who flock to see the city’s historic sites.”

DRA’s investment will help unite several local entities to support the Selma Innovation District, which is a multi-phase project. The investment will support Phase I, which will install a no-cost Wi-Fi network to help transform downtown Selma and provide high-speed internet access to dozens of buildings, area residents and tourists visiting Selma’s historic sites.  

Alabama’s congressional delegation released the following statements in support of the initiative:

“Advancing Alabama’s infrastructure and connectivity is key to increasing economic activity in the state,” said Senator Richard Shelby. “This strategic investment by the Delta Regional Authority will encourage business development in the City of Selma and throughout the region.”

“Universal high-speed internet is not only possible, but it is necessary to the survival of rural America,” said U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell. “The Delta Regional Authority’s investment in my hometown of Selma is going to give families, students, job seekers, and constituents access to 21st century opportunities. Access to the internet has the ability to transform our schools, our hospitals, and our local businesses by connecting rural Americans with resources and professionals from across the country. Thank you to the Delta Regional Authority, the U.S. Economic Development Administration and leaders in Selma for working together to make this investment happen.”

The Selma Innovation District Initiative is an ideal model of a collaborative effort to build community capacity and improve the quality of life for area residents. The multi-phase project will ultimately involve the Selma Redevelopment Authority, the City of Selma, the National Park Service, the Alabama Career Center, local universities, local business owners and residents in a transformative placemaking campaign centered in historic downtown Selma.

The Wi-Fi network that will cover a 10-block area that includes most of central downtown Selma and will utilize the city’s existing fiber loop and a private internet service provider to ensure a reliable wireless network. Phases II and III will leverage the wireless network to create an innovation district in downtown Selma, promote tourism, enhance public safety and make delivery of municipal services more efficient.

“We appreciate EDA’s willingness to continue investing in the Delta region,” said Peter Kinder, alternate federal co-chairman of DRA. “This investment in Selma aligns with DRA’s goal of increasing community capacity in rural areas.” 

In October, DRA and other public and private partners invested about $7.1 million in seven statewide projects across Alabama as part of the agency’s States’ Economic Development Assistance Program. Today’s announcement delivers additional investments through the DRA-EDA partnership.


About the Delta Regional Authority
The Delta Regional Authority is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 to help create jobs, build communities, and improve lives through strategic investments in economic development in 252 counties and parishes across eight states. To date, DRA’s investments have exceeded $3.7 billion – including contributions from federal, state and local partners – and have supported infrastructure improvements, workforce development and training, and increased community capacity. These investments have helped create or retain more than 38,000 jobs, trained more than 8,400 workers for 21st Century jobs, and provided water and sewer service to more than 75,000 families since DRA was established. Learn more at dra.gov.

About the Economic Development Administration
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration 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. Learn more at eda.gov.

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Media Contact:
Andrew Moreau
202-744-3558
amoreau@dra.gov