Alabama Gulf Recovery Council approves $41.8 Million for projects in Gulf Shores

The Alabama Gulf Recovery Council (AGRC) has approved $41.8 million in funding for projects in Gulf Shores. Funding for the projects is made available through the RESTORE Act and stems from fines and penalties paid by companies involved in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
“I am proud of the diligent approach my colleagues on the Alabama Council have taken to determine the most responsible way to allocate these monies,” said Mayor Robert Craft. “The projects that have been approved for Gulf Shores will make an immediate and lasting positive impact on our environment, infrastructure and economy once they are completed.”
The projects in Gulf Shores which received approval from the AGRC are as follows:

Ambassadors of the Environment: $9,748,254 
(Project Sponsor: City of Gulf Shores)
The purpose of the Gulf Shores Ambassadors of the Environment Program is to create a sustainably-designed ecotourism program where participants can learn about the ecology, biodiversity, sustainability, and resource management of the northern Gulf of Mexico in order to promote conservation and stewardship of our natural resources.
The City of Gulf Shores will construct a state-of-the-art facility, utilizing the latest green building technologies, on 11.86 acres of City-owned property located adjacent to Gulf State Park. The architecture will mimic functional natural cycles found in the many habitat types that are easily accessible in coastal Alabama.

Baldwin County ALDOT Capacity Improvements: $21,700,000 
(Project Sponsor: Baldwin County)
This project is part of a larger transportation infrastructure project that will improve traffic conditions and increase capacity in five areas around Baldwin County. The overall project cost will be $126.6 million, with $56.8 million coming from RESTORE.
The Gulf Shores portion of the project is estimated to cost $21.7 million, and will vastly improve the connections from AL-59 to the Foley Beach Express, including the widening of SR-180 (Canal Rd.), improvements to intersections, and other ancillary connections. This project, in conjunction with other improvements will greatly reduce congestion in the area.
Fort Morgan Parkway Trail Enhancement: $4,433,600 
(Project Sponsor: Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Alabama State Parks)
The Fort Morgan Parkway Trail Enhancement Project will extend and complete the Fort Morgan Trail from Fort Morgan Historical Park to Gulf State Park and includes the construction of a mid-zone to provide parking, restroom facilities, and interpretive signage.
When completed, the Fort Morgan Trail will provide approximately 30 miles of recreation trail from Fort Morgan to Orange Beach and will connect with numerous trails spurs and loops along the way.

Little Lagoon Restoration Project: $5,995,686  
(Project Sponsor: City of Gulf Shores)
The Little Lagoon Restoration Project will restore and improve approximately 2,500 acres of habitat within Little Lagoon by creating 1,000 feet of living shoreline, improving hydrologic connectivity of the existing canal system, converting approximately 200 septic systems to City sanitary sewer, restoring shellfish and marsh/seagrass, and conducting ecological research and long-term monitoring.
Project objectives include improvements to water quality, increased habitat area, and increased ecological productivity. The project will have secondary beneficial impacts to the region including improved and more resilient infrastructure, and increased recreation and ecotourism opportunities.
Each of these projects will be included in Alabama’s Draft Multiyear Implementation Plan and Draft State Expenditure Plan. These plans will be released for public comment for 45 days after which time they will move to the Federal RESTORE Council for final approval.

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