U.S. Treasury approves Alabama’s multiyear implementation plan for Gulf Coast recovery

Gulf Coast Alabama beach

A multiyear plan developed to help restore the Gulf Coast in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill has been approved by the U.S. Department of Treasury (USDT).

Developed by the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council (AGCRC), the plan proposes 15 activities for Direct Component RESTORE funding for a total estimated cost of $192,416,759. Now that the plan has been approved, individual grant applications must be submitted to Treasury and awarded before project activity can begin.

“This is a watershed day in the reinvestment of Alabama’s Gulf Coast communities,” said Governor Kay Ivey. “The members of the Council have worked long and hard over the past year to get us to this point; at long last, oil spill funds guaranteed to the people of Alabama through the RESTORE Act are about to be invested. I am especially grateful there has been so much public input in this process.”

The projects

The projects proposed in the plan are all located within Mobile and Baldwin Counties.

The money for the projects comes from penalties paid by companies involved in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico through the RESTORE Act, which established a trust fund to hold much of that money aside for “programs, projects, and activities that restore and protect the environment and economy of the Gulf Coast region.”

All 15 projects are in accordance with the focus areas selected by 10-member Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council that include infrastructure projects benefiting the economy and related planning assistance.

  1. Aloe Bay Harbour Town Phases I, II and III: The purpose of this project is to enhance economic opportunities and ensure long-term economic sustainability by creating a walkable district in and around Aloe Bay, including short-term lodging, event, and retail space.
    1. Location: Town of Dauphin Island, Mobile County, Ala.
  2. Redevelop Bayou La Batre City Docks Phases I, II and III: The purpose of the project is to redevelop the City docks to breathe life back into the space. This new vision will support many areas of the local economy and will serve as a public space and meeting place for festivals and area residents and visitors to enjoy.
    1. Location: City of Bayou La Batre, Mobile County, Ala.
  3. Water Distribution System Upgrades: The purpose of the project is to replace undersized water mains with larger lines to provide adequate water pressure and fire protection for many areas within Bayou La Batre Utilities Board service area.
    1. Location: City of Bayou La Batre, Mobile County, Ala.
  4. Northwest Satsuma Water and Sewer Project: The purpose of this project will extend water and sewer under Interstate 65 via directional boring to bring potable water, fire protection, and gravity sanitary sewer access to the households currently relying on individual wells and on-site septic tanks. This project will reduce health problems due to inadequate treatment from private wells, improve water quality, as approximately 100 on-site septic tanks will be abandoned, and will provide growth opportunities for the City of Satsuma. Residences will be connected to the infrastructure by homeowners per city ordinance.
    1. Location: City of Satsuma, Mobile County, Ala.
  5. Mount Vernon Water Treatment Plant (WTP): The purpose of this project is to upgrade the Town of Mount Vernon’s 972,000 gallons per day (GPD) Water Treatment Plant to provide more reliable service, ensuring improved environmental conditions, and allowing for future growth.
    1. Location: Town of Mount Vernon, Mobile County, Ala.
  6. Mobile County Blueway Trail Development: This water-based trail development project will increase the potential for trail business and revenue income in Mobile County, increase and enhance the public’s access to local waters, protect sensitive environments along the coast, and promote nature-based tourism.
    1. Location: Mobile County, Ala.
  7. Baldwin Beach Express I-10 to I-65 Extension: The purpose of this Activity is to 1) acquire land from willing sellers as associated with an infrastructure project in conformance with the RESTORE Act and regulations; and 2) construct the 24.5-mile Baldwin Beach Express Extension from I-10 to I-65 to complete the 51-mile Baldwin Beach Express program.
    1. Location: Baldwin County, Ala.
  8. Baldwin County ALDOT Capacity Improvements: Upgrade long under-performing state corridors in the State’s fastest growing county.
    1. Location: Baldwin County, Ala.
  9. Alabama State Port Authority Automotive Logistics/RO-RO Terminal: The purpose of this project is to allow automobile and equipment manufacturers in Alabama and other neighboring states access to a more cost-effective deep-water gateway for exporting American made products, as well as importing commodities and components that support those manufacturers. This will help the nation compete in the global economy, creating jobs and improving the regional and national economy.
    1. Location: City of Mobile, Mobile County, Ala.
  10. Gulf Coast Center for Ecotourism and Sustainability: The purpose of the infrastructure project is to house a sustainably-designed ecotourism program where visitors can learn about the ecology, biodiversity, sustainability, and resource management of the northern Gulf of Mexico to raise environmental awareness and to promote conservation and stewardship of our natural resources.
    1. Location: City of Gulf Shores, Baldwin County, Ala.
  11. Historic Africatown Welcome Center: The purpose of this project is to plan, design, and build a building to serve as a welcome center and tourist destination for the Africatown community. This activity will not only help promote economic development and tourism, but also lay the foundation for national historic preservation of the rich cultural heritage of the area.
    1. Location: City of Mobile, Mobile County, Ala.
  12. Innovating St. Louis Street: Mobile’s Technology Corridor: The project purpose includes the design and reconstruction of the road bed, adjacent, and subsurface infrastructure within the St. Louis Street right-of-way. The planning, design, and reconstruction of existing utility, streetscape, roadway, and storm drainage infrastructure along St. Louis Street would represent a significant milestone for the City of Mobile. Comprehensively, this initiative correlates with broader objectives for fostering additional business development and economic revitalization opportunities within the corridor and the surrounding area.

    The City’s vision, in partnership with the University of South Alabama and other stakeholders, includes the creation of a “vibrant, live, work, play and learn district” in downtown Mobile. The St. Louis Street corridor is poised to become Mobile’s Downtown Technology Corridor, which will house “Innovate Mobile,” a regional science and research park. The University of South Alabama has purchased property on St. Louis Street and envisions the site as the future home of the “innovation accelerator” facility.

    1. Location:City of Mobile, Mobile County, Ala.
  13. Mobile Greenway Initiative: Three Mile Creek Greenway Trail: The purpose of the Three Mile Creek Greenway Trail is to re-connect neighborhoods along Segments 1, 2 and 3 from Langan Park’s Japanese Gardens east to Springhill Plaza Shopping Center at Interstate 65 and Segments 5, 6 and 7 beginning at Bush Park in Crichton, passing through Mill Street Park at University Hospital, McLean Park south of Toulminville, and beyond Tricentennial Park to the Infirmary Medical Center. Designated access along the Trail will be provided, thus enhancing transportation options, recreational opportunities, community health, and the overall economy.
    1. Location: City of Mobile, Mobile County, Ala.
  14. Working Waterfront and Greenspace Restoration Project:The purpose of this project is to create a safe and user-friendly environment for providing access along the Eastern Shore in the City of Fairhope.
    1. Location: City of Fairhope, Baldwin County, Ala.
  15. Planning Grant to Amend Multiyear Implementation Plan: The purpose of this project is to provide planning assistance to develop two or more amended MIPs for the State of Alabama
    1. Location: Mobile and Baldwin Counties, Ala.

Click here to view the final multiyear implementation plan.

The decision-makers

The projects were determined by the 10-member AGCRC, which was created when Congress passed, and President Barack Obama signed into law, the RESTORE Act.

The council is comprised of:

  1. The governor, who serves as chair. Former Congressman Jo Bonner serves as Governor Ivey’s representative in her absence.
  2. The director of the Alabama State Port Authority, who serves as vice-chair
  3. The chairman of the Baldwin County Commission
  4. The president of the Mobile County Commission
  5. The mayor of Bayou La Batre
  6. The mayor of Dauphin Island
  7. The mayor of Fairhope
  8. The mayor of Gulf Shores
  9. The mayor of Mobile
  10. The mayor of Orange Beach.

“As Administrator for the Council, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is appreciative of the coordination and support provided throughout this process by the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Gulf Coast Restoration,” said Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner Chris Blankenship. “We look forward to working with Treasury as each grant is developed and implementation begins.