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 South Alabama Regional Planning Commission was created by an act of the Alabama Legislature in the 1960’s and has served the citizens of Mobile, Baldwin and Escambia Counties with many programs and services. 

My association with SARPC began in 1972 as I was elected as a member of the Bay Minette City Council. As Mayor, I served on the Board of Directors of SARPC from 1980-2000. Employed by SARPC since 2001, I have witnessed firsthand and in many capacities how this agency has grown and has served this region with dedication and professionalism. 

Please explore our website: www.sarpc.org to learn more about how vital our programs and services are to this region.

John F. (Rickey) Rhodes
Executive Director


Phase One of the I-10 Mobile River Bridge and Bayway project LRTP and TIP Amendment

There was a public meeting last week and a TCC/CAC meeting this week concerning the LRTP And TIP Amendment (ESMPO had a public meeting this week). The Envision 2045 Amendment public meeting was advertised since April 28th as a “public meeting”, not a hearing. Voting members of the MPO Policy Board were not at the meeting to hear and field questions, which is why it was advertised as a “public meeting”. MPO staff is requesting public comment to be provided in writing to be included into the document for MPO members to review prior to voting on the Amendment. A video of the presentation is on YouTube: https://youtu.be/iltdaGDeZrM
To view the DRAFT Amendment, CLICK HERE.

To submit comments electronically on the amendment, click HERE

Comment period closes May 26th, 2021 at 5 pm.

AGENDA for the June 2nd, 2021 MPO Meeting, to include amending the TIP for Phase 1 of the Mobile River Bridge Project, Click HERE
• May 19th, 10:00AM TCC/CAC Meeting in person; SARPC Offices  
• May 20th, 10:00 AM BPAC Meeting in person; SARPC Offices 
• May 26th, 5:00PM End Public Comment Period
• No later than May 27th, by 5:00 PM, all MPO Policy Board members will be provided an updated Amendment, with fulfilled Public Involvement Section and Appendix of comments.
• June 2nd, 10:00AM MPO Policy Board in person meeting SARPC Offices
 Click HERE for more meeting information
100 % Funding for Resurfacing of Local Roads Through the Mobile MPO with CRRSAA (April 16th, 2021)
In accordance with the Highway Infrastructure Program Funds Pursuant to the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA) dated January 15,2021 from the Federal Highway Administration, the Mobile Transportation Management Area (TMA) through the Mobile Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is apportioned $3,193,942 (FY 2021). ln consultation with the State of Alabama, it is the intention of the Mobile MPO to use the Mobile TMA apportioned CRRSAA funding ($3,193,942) for a one time competitive application award program. This funding can be 100% federal funding with no matching requirements; this presents a rare opportunity for the Mobile MPO.
Some of our municipalities in the Mobile MPO, do not have adequate revenue streams to provide the matching requirements when federal funds become available. Further, some of the smaller municipalities in the MPO only have one Federal Aid Route in their municipal limits (US43, SR181). Rarely do these municipalities have the opportunity to spend federal transportation funds through the MPO. Per the above noted guidance, routine maintenance and preventative maintenance on non-federal aid highways is allowed if Special Authority is given to the MPO by the State.
The State of Alabama has awarded the Mobile MPO the Special Authority to proceed.
The cities of Creola, Satsuma, Saraland, Chickasaw, Prichard, Semmes and Bayou la Batre have provided a prioritized list of roads that need to be resurfaced within their jurisdiction. The CRRSAA Committee is meeting next week to validate the projects and move forward with this program. This is 100 % funding, with no matching requirements. Communication with MPO staff is through the Mayor of each municipality. 
Please call Kevin Harrison 706-4635 if there are any questions.
RPO Updates

The South Alabama Regional Planning Commission (SARPC) met in October using the GoToMeeting app. The agenda included:

  • Adoption of the minutes of the previous meeting (these will be sent out soon)
  • Review and adoption of the Fiscal Year 2021 Work Program (available for review online at: HERE
  • Review and adoption of the Fiscal Years 2020-2023 Human Services Coordinated Transportation Plan (available for review online at: HERE

The RPO Transportation Plan Project List (available for review online at http://www.mobilempo.org/RPODocuments.html SARPC Rural Planning Organization

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-STIP HERE
Funding Opportunities

Keywords: Infrastructure, Arts, Energy, Capacity Building
National Endowment for the Humanities
This funding is available to strengthen the institutional base of the humanities by enabling infrastructure development and capacity building Capital Projects support the design, purchase, construction, or renovation of facilities which includes telecommunications, and energy management. Digital Infrastructure projects support the maintenance, modernization, and sustainability of existing digital scholarly projects and platforms. Application Deadlines: May 18, 2021 and Sept. 28, 2021

Due 6/30/21: DOI FY 2021 Energizing Insular Communities Grant Program

Key Words: Native American, Infrastructure, Climate Resilience, Energy
The Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) is requesting proposals for its Energizing Insular Communities (EIC) Program which provides grant funding for sustainable energy strategies that mitigate climate change, reduce reliance and expenditures on imported fuels, develop and utilize domestic energy sources, and improve the performance of energy infrastructure and overall energy efficiency in the territories.

Keywords: Infrastructure, Broadband
U.S. Department of Agriculture

USDA Rural Development is accepting applications for loans and loan guarantees to build or update broadband and telephone infrastructure in rural areas where financing can be used for the construction, improvement, or expansion of telecommunications infrastructure serving rural areas with a population of 5,000 or less. Application Deadline: Ongoing

Keywords: Planning, Capacity Building, Infrastructure
U.S. Department of Agriculture
USDA Rural Development’s SEARCH program provides funding for financially distressed rural communities of less than 2,500 people to assist with feasibility studies, design assistance and technical assistance on proposed water and waste disposal projects. Application Deadline: Open


Keywords: Planning, Capacity Building, Infrastructure
U.S. Department of Agriculture

USDA Rural Development offers grants to help low-income, rural communities with the initial planning and development of applications for their Water and Waste Disposal loan/grant and loan guarantee programs. Application Deadline: Ongoing

Please visit EDI’s Federal Assistance for Economic Development page on EDA’s website at www.eda.gov to view a table of funding opportunities that are still open. This table represents a selection of opportunities available on Grants.gov that may be of particular interest to local and regional economic development stakeholders.

EDA Research and National Technical Assistance (RNTA) Toolbox (Feb 2021)

StatsAmerica Innovation 2.0: This easy-to-access tool provides planning officials a convenient means of identifying the innovation capacity of their region to help them craft effective development strategies.
SARPC Economic Development Recovery Plan Update
VisionFirst Advisors, the consultants for this project, has conducted a kick-off call with the SARPC team, and kick-off calls with each individual county to identify high-level needs and goals for the plan. They have conducted more than 60 in-person stakeholder meetings and site visits in all three counties over three days with six staff members. They have conducted initial research on each county and the region overall including demographics, educational attainment and awards along with industry clusters. They are overlaying COVID related industry data and subsequent economic pressures as it relates to recovery and resiliency. They have developed an online survey to further engage key stakeholders – coordinating with EDOs for deployment.
VisionFirst have begun to take the key findings from the data and the interviews and developed the SWOT, leverage points and key findings. Once they have the survey results, they will incorporate those as well. 
Hazard Mitigation Plan for Division A
The South Alabama Regional Planning Commission completed the Hazard Mitigation Plan for Division A. We have submitted the Plan to the Alabama Emergency Management Agency and FEMA for review, comments and approval.  
Employment and Economic Development Services
Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)
As mask mandates are relaxed, organizations have begun the steps to open back up. However, it is happening slowly. We continue to identify host agencies which have not received the approval from their decision makers to open up. Likewise, we have participants reluctant to return to an assignment and are not sure about getting the vaccine.
Senior Community Service Employment Program staff seeks to educate seniors regarding the vaccine and on its protection and liberty it can provide. In the meantime, we continue our search for seniors who are comfortable with getting back into the community and ready to provide host agencies community service.
SCSEP enrolls persons 55 year or older, who are not currently working and are in the 125% Federal poverty level into a training a placement program. While in this program the participant is placed in a host agency which provides on-the-job training. The participant is paid a stipend of $7.25 per hour and provides community service to the host agency for 19.75 hours per week. 
The goal of the program is to prepare the participant for unsubsidized employment and assist them in becoming self-sufficient.   
For more information, please call 251.591.6506 or 251.263.3907.
Mature Staffing Service (MSS)
Our Staffing Service provides high quality recruiting and payroll services to governmental and non-profit agencies looking to employ mature workers of any age. Our goal is to streamline the payroll and hiring process, adding value back to your day. For more information please call 251-652-0585.
Shannon Raley attended the first 100% in-person Mobile Society for Human Resource Management (MSHRM) meeting for 2021 at Heron Lakes Country Club for a half-day workshop on Friday, May 14th.
The focus of the workshop was to help Human Resource professionals come out of the COVID-19 pandemic with a fresh mind-set, stress-relieving techniques, mental health challenge awareness, creating a mental health policy and important information regarding COVID-19 related legislation.  
Speakers discussed the current issues with mental health given by an Alta Pointe counselor, a COVID-related update from Dr. Chavers with the Mobile County Health Department, how to create a mental health policy, a super-cool desk yoga session and a legal update on the American Rescue Plan.  

South Alabama Regional Planning Commission’s - Revolving Loan Fund

The Innovation Portal is a business incubation center located in downtown Mobile. Its purpose is to assist entrepreneurs with business development starting with the concept and ending in the development of a sustainable business. 
This is where SARPC’s Revolving Loan Fund program comes into play. As a partner and a resource for the Innovation Portal’s clients, the RLF program provides funding for start up businesses and expanding companies.
Find out how the Revolving Loan Fund can be used to bridge the gap of the cash needed to complete business projects or provide small business funding through a direct loan. 
Call 251-591-6506 today.


May is Older Americans Month
South Alabama RSVP Recent Volunteer Activities:
The South Alabama RSVP, Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program completed the 2020 tax season April 30, 2021 with significant growth in volunteer participation and tax preparation. The TCE program services taxpayers at 10 sites in both Baldwin and Escambia County. This year the TCE program gained approximately 26 new tax volunteers that previously participated with the AARP Tax-Aide program. Along with the volunteer growth TCE also added 3 new TCE tax sites in Baldwin County. The new sites are located at the James P. Nix Center in Fairhope, the Orange Beach Senior Activity Center in Orange Beach and the G.P. Thames Senior Citizen Center in Robertsdale. As of the April 27, 2021 IRS report, TCE volunteers had prepared and submitted 1854 federal tax returns and helped senior and disabled taxpayers receive back $1,713,679 in refunds from their federal tax returns.
The South Alabama RSVP program partnered with the Baldwin County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) to provide volunteers for multiple COVID-19 vaccination sites in Baldwin County this year. Some of the vaccination sites were located at the Daphne Civic Center, OWA Entertainment Park in Foley, Three Circle Church in Fairhope, and the Macedonia Church in Daphne. RSVP provided 33 volunteers for 16 clinics which gave over 10,000 vaccinations to eligible citizens in Baldwin County. RSVP volunteers accumulated 851 volunteer hours during these 16 events.
South Alabama RSVP Volunteers took up donations of items to create gift baskets to hospice patients with Southern Care Hospice for Valentine’s Day. RSVP volunteers collected enough items to create 50 gift baskets. There were so many made that some were being held over for other upcoming holidays or events. Southern Care Hospice Volunteer and Bereavement Coordinator Karen Bartl and RSVP Coordinator Dawne Biggs coordinated the event.

Area Agency on Aging kicks off COVID Vaccine Access Project 
With 1 out of 4 older adults still not vaccinated for COVID-19, the Area Agencies on Aging are partnering with the Alabama Department of Senior Services to help older adults get vaccinated. A campaign will include social media and printed materials, with messages to encourage those who are vaccine hesitant and to provide assistance to those who have a barrier to obtaining vaccination. Case management will be provided to help with on-line portals, give information on nearby vaccination sites, arrange rides to vaccination sites, schedule the Alabama Army National Guard or other agencies to go to the homes of the home bound to provide vaccinations, and address other barriers keeping older people and people with disabilities from obtaining vaccinations. For information, contact Sheila Green at the Area Agency on Aging at sgreen@sarpc or 251-706-4632.