Welcome to SARPC's digital newsletter. Our goal is to publish a newsletter bi-monthly that provides highlights of projects and activities being undertaken at the agency. If you have any questions or would like to request additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
In This Issue

The SARPC Annual Meeting and Strategic Session was held last week  in  Point Clear. By comments received it was a very successful meeting with a large turnout  of concerned citizens from our Region. An inspirational, motivational message delivered by Archbishop Thomas Rodi set the stage for discussions and topics ranging from economic development, ALDOT updates, 2020 Legislative Session, Port Authority and Alabama Dept. of Senior Services initiatives. The SARPC Staff looks forward to serving the needs of the citizens in Mobile, Baldwin and Escambia Counties.


John F. "Rickey" Rhodes

Mayor of Elberta, Jim Hamby, received the Norman J. Walton Award at the 2020 SARPC Annual meeting.

Alabama Small Business Commission


Mobile MPO Updates

There is a Public Meeting concerning the 25 Year Long Range Transportation Plan on January 29 th , 4PM-6:30PM in the SARPC Board Room

Last week the Mobile MPO Policy Committee met.  The Technical Coordinating Committee and Citizen's Advisory Committee (TCC/CAC)  Bylaws  and committee composition were amended.  If you are a MPO Member, or an agency on the TCC/CAC, please take time to review the   Bylaws  and who sits on the committee.

There was a discussion on the Envision 2045, the 25 year Long Range Transportation Plan.  ALL federally funded transportation projects must be derived from this plan. It is updated every five years, and must be fiscally constrained, meaning the federally funding must be identified for the each project in the Plan. Currently, the I-10 Mobile River Bridge is not in the fiscally constrained Plan. There was also a short presentation by Kevin Spriggs with the Common Sense Campaign on a Coastal Alabama Consensus Plan for a four lane Mobile River Bridge and Expressway.


Envision2045 is multi-modal in scope, encompassing long-range plans for highway, public transportation, and bicycle and pedestrian networks. Regional growth, economic development, and accessibility within the study area along with environmental concerns necessitate that the long-range plan addresses not only improved vehicular travel but also improvements to alternative modes. Preservation of the existing transportation system coupled with enhancement of all modal choices will contribute to the improvement of the overall quality of life in the region.
The South Alabama Regional Planning Commission(SARPC) invites decision makers, stakeholders, and members of the general public to participate in the development of the plan. SARPC is seeking feedback on transportation major infrastructure projects, initiatives and policies.  Transportation priorities such as congestion, freight, transit, roadways, bicycle and pedestrian, and other transportation modes will be addressed in the 2045 Long Range Transportation Plan.
Your comments help SARPC's planners to develop a wide-ranging, action-oriented transportation plan. The Envision2045 plan being developed will also serve as a basis for allocating limited federal money aimed at roadways, bridges, and public transportation facilities.  The comment period on the early participation online survey is closed; however, there will be several more opportunities for the public to comment on the plan in the near future.

Preliminary Survey Results have been posted HERE and will be updated as more of the questions are put into graph and chart form.

South Alabama Regional Planning Commission Annual Meeting
Last Friday, as part of the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission Annual Meeting, Mr. John Cooper the Director of the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) was a featured speaker to the elected officials and distinguished quests of Coastal Alabama.   Mr. Cooper spoke of the REBUILD Alabama Act, and spoke of the financial situation the State budget is in. Ninety percent of the DOT's budget is spent on maintenance, and there are great needs across the entire state.   It was estimated that there is only $200 Million for the entire state, for projects that meet one of three categories; Urban Congestion, Over Crowded Two Lane Roads, and Economic Development.  The Economic Development projects are predominantly projects for communities that do not have four lane access to our Interstate system.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee Meeting

The Mobile MPO BPAC met last week to discuss bicycle and pedestrian issues throughout Mobile County. The agenda included the election of Chair and Vice-Chair - Mr. John Blanton was elected Chairman and Ms. Carol Hunter was elected Vice-Chairwoman. We would like to thank these kind folks for their continued guidance and support.

There was an update on the Bike/Ped section of the MPO's 2045 Long Range Transportation Plan and a review of upcoming road projects for inclusion of bicycle and pedestrian facilities. There was also a brief discussion on acquiring recent crash data involving cyclists and pedestrians. There was also an update on the Coastal Alabama Livable Communities Coalition's Bicycle Safety Training for Law Enforcement Officers.

Transportation Improvement Program( TIP)

The TIP represents a four year program (2020-2023) for improvements in the various transportation systems located within the Mobile study area as identified in the Mobile MPO's Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), the twenty-five year plan for the Mobile Urban Area Destination 2040. The LRTP establishes the transportation programs that are needed to meet travel demand by the study year and study area. LRTP projects that become funded are moved into the TIP and submitted to the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT), where they are programmed into the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). For MPO projects, TIP project selection is based on priorities established by MPO member governments and the availability of funds through the Surface Transportation Attributable program. For other projects, ALDOT has discretion of project funding based on availability of funds from various types of funding categories.  Most often, projects in the TIP are derived from the LRTP. The TIP guides ALDOT in its annual allocation of funds for transportation improvements and becomes a part of the STIP.
ArcGIS Online is now being utilized by MPO staff to map all federally funded surface transportation projects within our area. Check it out.
2020-2023 E-TIP HERE


Funding & Resource Announcements


Opening Jan 31 - USDA RD's New Round of Reconnect Program Funding for Rural Broadband

On December 12, 2019, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the availability of a second round of $550 million in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)  Reconnect Pilot Program  funding appropriated by Congress. USDA will make available up to $200 million for grants, up to $200 million for 50/50 grant/loan combinations, and up to $200 million for low-interest loans. The application window for this round of funding will open Jan. 31, 2020. Applications for all funding products will be accepted in the same application window, which will close no later than March 16, 2020. A full description of 2020 ReConnect Pilot Program funding is available on page 67913 of the Dec. 12, 2019,  Federal Register  (PDF, 336 KB). To learn more about eligibility, technical assistance and recent announcements, visit  www.usda.gov/reconnect .


LOI Due Jan 8: EDA/NIST Disaster Resilience and Response Technology Challenge Grant

Deadline is approaching to submit Letters of Intent to apply for Accelerate R2 Network Challenge. The Economic Development Administration(EDA), in collaboration with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority), are seeking proposals to form national networks to support innovation, entrepreneurship, research, and investment in transformative technologies in the response and resiliency markets. Visit Here for specific details.

Closes Jan 31 - FEMA FY19 Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program Funding.

The Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) program makes available Federal funds to State, Local and Tribal Governments to implement and sustain cost-effective measures designed to reduce the risk to individuals and property from natural hazards, while also reducing reliance on Federal funding from future disasters. Visit Grants.gov for full details: Click Here.

Open Federal Funding Opportunities:

Below is a list of previously highlighted funding opportunities that are still open. Enter the Opportunity Number in Grants.gov to see announcement details. You can also search Grants.gov for a full list of current federal opportunities, including programs not listed below.
Opportunity Number
Opportunity Title
Posted Date
Close Date
FY 2020 EDA Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance Programs
FY 2019 EDA Disaster Supplemental
HUD's FY2020 and FY2021 Distressed Cities TA Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA)
Minority Serving Institutions Partnership Program
Accelerate R2 Network Challenge - FINAL
Coral Reef and Natural Resources Program
Technical Assistance Program

Reports, Research and Tools

NEW: CORI Releases New Rural Assets Mapping Tool

In December 2019, the Center on Rural Innovation's (CORI) released its Rural Opportunity Map , a suite of data visualization and mapping tools to help local leaders, national policymakers, investors, and donors see the potential in rural America. The tool contains hundreds of datasets curated to give insights into tech- and innovation-based economic development strategies and opportunities. Tools include:
  • Rural Startup Scout  providing data "on broadband infrastructure, educational attainment, STEM degrees, patent activity, young companies and other local assets to highlight Opportunity Zones with emerging tech sectors. The map is designed to help Opportunity Zone investors identify rural areas that are likely to produce promising tech startups," according to CORI.
  • Local Leader Action Map, that helps local leaders understand their assets and communicate rural opportunities.

NEW Opportunity Project Data Sets for Workforce and Economic Development

CORI's Rural Opportunity Map was just one of several tools on display at the US Census Department's recently held Opportunity Project Demo Day , that contain hundreds of data sets from the U.S. Census, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and other government agencies.
  • City Builder by Citi, a data-driven, web-based platform that seamlessly aggregates information about U.S. Opportunity Zones, was also featured during the Demo Day event. The site aims to increase transparency and access to information in order to help investors, fund managers, developers, municipalities and community members work together on community development projects. The City Builder platform is accessible at no cost via https://citi.com/citybuilder.
The platform currently supplies data and insights from 9 cites: Chicago, Columbia, S.C.; Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Louisville, Ky., New York, Newark, and Providence, R.I - with plans to add more cities and expand the site's scope across the country.
  • The Opportunity Project website hosts a wealth of issue-specific data recommended by government experts and test-driven by teams working to solve the nation's biggest challenges. The site hosts curated federal data sets relative to Entrepreneurship, Opportunity Zones, Career Pathways, Talent Discovery and more inputs to support your comprehensive economic development strategies.

NEW   Small Business Administration Releases Fact Sheet on Growth in Number of Rural Business Establishments

Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) are defined around areas of high population density.  A comparison of counties within MSAs to those outside reveals how growth has varied between metropolitan and rural areas.  Since 2000, the number of establishments in metropolitan counties has grown by 30.9 percent, while the number in rural counties has grown by only 7.2 percent. More information on trends can be found in the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy's "Small Business Facts: Growth in Number of Rural Establishments."

Disaster Recovery Resources & Info

Where to Find Federal Disaster Declarations

  • Amended Declarations: Existing Declarations may be subsequently amended to expand covered areas, provide notification that an incident has been closed, or make other necessary changes.

Funding and other Assistance Available for Economic Recovery:

EDA Disaster Supplemental Funding Available for Areas Impacted by 2018/19 Disasters

On August 13, 2019, EDA announced the EDA Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) Disaster Supplemental Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), making available $587 million for eligible grantees in communities impacted by Presidentially declared natural disasters in 2018, and by floods and tornadoes in 2019. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until funds are exhausted. View Opportunity Number EDA-2019-DISASTER on Grants.gov, and contact your EDA Regional Office representative for eligibility information and application assistance. For more information, view EDA's September 2019 webinar video recording and download the slides on our Disaster Supplemental Web page

EPA Toolkit Features Resources to Prepare for Natural Disasters

The toolkit has two sections - one for local government officials, including Emergency Management Coordinators (EMCs), utility district managers, and local elected officials - and a section for community residents. It provides information, tools and resources to help with planning for hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters. Click  here  to access the toolkit. 

USDA Rural Housing Announced Availability of 2019 Disaster Relief Act Funds

USDA Rural Housing Service's Community Facilities Program (CF) has supplemental grant funding available for necessary expenses related to the consequences of Hurricanes Michael and Florence and wildfires occurring in calendar year 2018, tornadoes and floods occurring in calendar year 2019, and other natural disasters. Submit applications through USDA State Office contacts, available at: https://www.rd.usda.gov/about-rd/offices/state-offices .


Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)

The Senior Community Service Employment Program quarterly meeting was on November 20. James Roberson presented information related to the State Health Insurance Program. His presentation was met with much interest from participants.
As you know, there is a focus on the 2020 census. Several of the SCSEP participants have signed up for consideration for employment. The Census program will conduct hiring in February. This would provide unsubsidized employment for SCSEP participants.
Additionally, the Baldwin County Commission has approved the assignment of two participants to provide community service to the satellite court offices of Fairhope and Robertsdale.

Mature Staffing Service (MSS)
Revolving Loan Fund
The SARPC Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) is a program created to assist entrepreneurs start or grow their businesses and create new jobs in Mobile, Baldwin and Escambia counties. We were recently able to assist a local daycare owner, who used RLF for "gap" funding, in participation with Commonwealth National Bank, to purchase a new location. She has since more than doubled her enrollment and employees.
If you are interested in learning more about our Revolving Loan Fund please call 251-706-4676.
It is important that EEDS staff go to events to network and market our programs and support our community partners. Here are a few highlights:

Innovation PortAL

The Innovation PortAL offers tours at their future location, 358 St. Louis Street in Mobile. It is an evolving business incubator which will house work areas for entrepreneurs and associated resources. The entrepreneurs will be coached from concept to sustainability. This developing relationship between the Innovation PortAL and SARPC will connect entrepreneurs to SARPC's Revolving Loan Fund for small businesses.                 

Pictured: (L) Terri Pringle, Corey James, Alyssa Nelson and Tara Holland


Staff   attended the South Alabama Workforce Development Council (SAWDC) annual meeting in December.  During the meeting it was announced SAWDC will be adding Worlds of Opportunity (WOO) event in Monroeville. The Worlds (industries) attending will be Aerospace, IT, Construction,Manufacturing, Energy,  Transportation/Logistics, Forestry/Wood products Over 50 companies have committed to attending.  This is great news for rural Alabama where opportunities are scarce and exposure to some of these industries is limited to non-existent.  People in this area need jobs and they need good jobs.  This event will provide the avenue to explore work opportunities they never considered. 

Pictured: Brooks Harper, career development expert and motivational speaker at SAWDC annual meeting.


Comcast Cares Day

Volunteer Day of Service
Project Window:
Wednesday, April 1 - Monday, May 11, 2020
National Day of Service:
May 2, 2020
Community Service Project Solicitation  
Please Submit to:

RFP DEADLINE:  February 14, 2020

Community Care Corps RFP

2019 Legacy Leadership Institute Graduates

If you think you may want to volunteer but are unsure which direction you want to go, consider attending the Area Agency on Aging's free Legacy Lead-ership Institute for Older Adults to be held March 23-27, 2020. This one week program held on the campus of the University of South Alabama utilizes faculty and vising speakers to educate attendees on aging issues and impact-ful volunteering. It is designed to help retired professionals and baby boomers find their niche in the world of volunteering among opportunities at the Area Agency on Aging and in their communities. For information contact Charles Smith at the Area Agency on Aging at 251- 236-3881 or 706-4680. 

1st row-L-R: Ruthie Ann Johnson, Dr. Ralph Sandler, Mary Ann Campbell, Jill Sparks, Creola Jackson, Rosemary Carl Rivera, Betty Houston.
2nd row L-R: Patricia Perkins, Equilla Roberson, Judith Aronson, Joyce Fish, Carrie Dozier, Linda Friend-Knott, Julie McGee, Director, Area Agency on Aging.
3rd row L-R: Charles Smith, South Alabama RSVP Director, Karen Brown, McKay Neihl, Terry McCord, Nancy Barnes, Dr. Leo Mundy, Professor, University of South Alabama, Ann Dooms.

Mobile County Volunteer Guardian Program

The Area Agency on Aging (AAA) has operated the  Mobile County Volunteer Guardian Program (VGP) since 2015 in partnership with the Mobile County Probate Court and the South Alabama Volunteer Lawyers Program , and is supported by local organizations.  Mark Newell, President of the Mobile Bar Association, presented a grant from their association to the Volunteer Guardian Program at their annual meeting and Christmas banquet on December 13, 2019.  Pictured accepting for the Area Agency on Aging is Darla Dean, VGP Coordinator.  The Mobile County Volunteer Guardian Program was named in 122 petitions last year by the Mobile County Probate Court, and ended the year with 85 incapacitated persons served by the 62 volunteer guardians recruited and trained by the Area Agency on Aging. For information about the program, or to become a volunteer, contact Darla Dean at 251-706-4628.

Twin Oaks Sock Donation

Area Agency on Aging staff donated new socks in December to the residents of Twin Oaks as a Christmas surprise.  Representing the AAA in the photo are (L to R) Ivy Walker, Marcella Nettles and Susan Broadhead.

Adult Guardianship and Conservatorship

Memory Cafe

Dementia Friendly Mobile offering monthly gatherings for persons with dementia and their care partners at the Alabama Contemporary Art Center.

Caregiver College

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