DRA Announces $1.6 Million Investment into Alabama Black Belt Communities

October 03, 2019

DRA’s investment will improve public infrastructure, healthcare access, and job training to support economic development in communities across the Alabama Black Belt

CLARKSDALE, MS – Today, the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) made a $1.6 million investment that will strengthen public infrastructure and train the next generation of workforce to grow the region’s economy and create jobs, DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Caldwell and Alabama Governor Kay Ivey announced.

Seven new investments will provide funding for projects supporting water and sewer system improvements, innovative job training programs, and crucial healthcare services in communities across Alabama through DRA and other public and private resources.

“DRA’s mission is to support economic development by making investments into the physical infrastructure and human capital of the Delta region,” said Chairman Caldwell. “These investments will provide much needed improvements to water and sewer systems, flood control management, and industry-driven workforce training programs to provide greater economic opportunities for Alabama residents and businesses.”

Funding for these projects is provided by the States’ Economic Development Assistance Program, DRA’s flagship grant program that makes strategic investments into projects supporting basic public infrastructure, transportation improvements, workforce training and education, and business development with an emphasis on entrepreneurship. DRA coordinates directly with Alabama’s Department of Economic and Community Affairs and six local development districts in the state for program funding implementation.

Alabama: 2019 Investment Snapshot


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“When we invest in our Black Belt, we are making an important investment in the future of Alabama,” said Governor Kay Ivey. “This $1.6 million from the DRA is a welcome investment for several Alabama communities, and from these much-needed improvements, I know we will see further progress. I am grateful for the DRA’s support of growth in Alabama’s Black Belt.” 

Alabama’s congressional delegation issued the following statements:

“I am proud DRA is making a major investment in Alabama’s public infrastructure,” said U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL). “This $1.6 million in funding for seven projects across the Black Belt region will greatly improve our water and sewer systems, help create new job training programs, and support important healthcare services. I want to thank Chairman Chris Caldwell and DRA for seeing these projects through, and I am confident that they will help foster healthy communities and economic development opportunities in our state.” 

"These Delta Regional Authority grants are an important investment in West Alabama,” said U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL). “Not only will this funding help improve existing infrastructure in the Livingston and Jackson communities, but it will also enhance the lives of Alabamians through improved water and sewer management and it will help create new jobs.”

“Infrastructure is a critical concern to many of Alabama’s rural communities, so I’m glad this grant money will be invested in projects with real benefit to the people in Southwest Alabama. I’ll never stop working to ensure rural Alabamians have a voice in Washington,” said Congressman Bradley Byrne (R – 1st District).

“Having reliable infrastructure in our communities is fundamental to our state’s ability to conduct business and remain competitive,” said Congresswomen Martha Roby (R - 2nd District). I am pleased that the DRA has made this significant investment in our state, and I look forward to seeing the growth and progress it will bring.”

“As a proud daughter of the Black Belt, there is nothing more important to me than ensuring this crucial region is provided the opportunity and resources it needs to thrive,” said Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D – 7th District). “Thank you to the DRA for recognizing the inherent value of the Black Belt through these meaningful investments in infrastructure, water and sewer systems and workforce development. I know that this substantial investment will go a long way towards sustained economic growth, the effects of which will reverberate throughout our state as a whole.”


  1. Georgiana Water System Improvements | Georgiana, AL: The City of Georgiana will use DRA funds to replace their deteriorating water transmission mains throughout the downtown area. This investment is projected to impact 1,470 individuals who will benefit from improved water and sewer services. DRA Investment: $350,430
  2. York Water Tank Improvements | York, AL: The City of York will use DRA funds to address deficiencies and make improvements to the 200,000-gallon Oswald Elevated Water Tank. This investment is projected to 2,538 individuals who will benefit from improved water and sewer services. DRA Investment: $295,183
  3. Thomasville Regional Medical Center Transportation Infrastructure | Thomasville, AL: The City of Thomasville will use DRA funds to install streetlights and traffic signalization to service the Thomasville Regional Medical Center. This investment is projected to create 65 new jobs. DRA Investment: $240,239
  4. Coastal Alabama Community College VR Training Program | Thomasville, AL: Coastal Alabama Community College will use DRA funds to purchase technical equipment to provide virtual reality job training simulations for students pursuing industrial careers in the regional area. This investment is projected to train 250 individuals for in-demand careers. DRA Investment: $224,541
  5. Jackson Flood Control Improvements | Jackson, AL: The City of Jackson will use DRA funds to rehabilitate the drainage system along the main thoroughfare in the city to prevent frequent flooding that affects local businesses and residences. DRA Investment: $211,845; Total Project Investment: $261,845
  6. Chatom Hospital Building Renovation | Chatom, AL: The Town of Chatom will use DRA funds to renovate a town-owned building to house the Washington County Hospital & Nursing Home to provide improved healthcare services to county residents. DRA Investment: $130,250; Total Project Investment: $155,250
  7. Union Springs GIS System for Public Utilities | Union Springs, AL: The City of Union Springs will use DRA funds to develop a comprehensive GIS map of the water and sewer system in Union Springs and train their staff to effectively use GIS mapping tools for improved public infrastructure management. This investment is projected to impact 3,980 individuals who will benefit from improved water and sewer services and train four individuals with improved technical skills. DRA Investment: $47,250

About the Delta Regional Authority

Established in 2000 by Congress, the Delta Regional Authority makes strategic investments of federal appropriations into the physical and human infrastructure of Delta communities. Led by the Delta Regional Authority Board-comprised of the Federal Co-Chairman, appointed by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and the governors of the eight states-the Delta Regional Authority fosters local and regional partnerships that address economic and social challenges to ultimately strengthen the Delta economy and the quality of life for Delta residents. The Delta Regional Authority works to improve regional economic opportunity by helping to create jobs, build communities, and improve the lives of the 10 million people who reside in the 252 counties and parishes of the eight-state Delta region.

DRA Media Contact:
Susan Edwards         

DRA Program Contact:
Kemp Morgan