Mayor: Grants helping town move forward

By NICOLE SMITH, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 11/26/17

OAKMAN — At Monday’s Oakman Town Council meeting, Mayor Cory Franks explained how grants are helping to move the community forward.

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Mayor: Grants helping town move forward


OAKMAN — At Monday’s Oakman Town Council meeting, Mayor Cory Franks explained how grants are helping to move the community forward.

In the past six months, Oakman has received a $1,000 Good Roots grant from Alabama Power to plant new trees; a $2,500 Cawaco RC&D grant for new police equipment; and a $2,500 Alabama Bicentennial grant that helped with the town’s inaugural Day’s Gap Fest.

The largest awarded grant for Oakman came from the Walker Area Community Foundation in the amount of $5,320 that is being used to remodel the Oakman Senior Center. Evelyn Garrett, the manager of the senior center, said new LED lights have been installed in the center as a result of the grant, and other improvements will be made in the coming weeks.

Franks said in addition to nearly $12,000 in grants already awarded, the town has applied for $604,838 in grant funding.

The largest grant the town has applied for is a Community Development Block Grant. If awarded, the town could receive up to $350,000 to repair their sewer system, which Oakman leaders have expressed is a desperate need.

Less than two weeks ago, Cheryl Morgan, Emerita Director of Auburn University Urban Studio in Birmingham, visited Oakman to discuss the town’s potential for resurgence and other grants that may help Oakman strengthen its resources. Franks said Morgan will return to Oakman in December to continue assisting the town.

“She will be working with my staff on getting maps of the town, the county and school board owned properties in the community,” Franks said. “In doing so, that helps us know what properties we own and what properties we can maybe develop, and what grants we can apply for to help us do that.”

Oakman is in the beginning stages of one unnamed development located across from Oakman High School, and Franks has expressed interest in recruiting other businesses to the town.

In other business, the council:

•heard from Oakman Volunteer Fire Chief Shane Calloway that work has finally commenced on the town’s first storm shelter, located on School Street.

“The base has been formed up. Hopefully the rest will be started in a couple of weeks,” Calloway said.

A firm completion date for the shelter has not been announced.

•heard from Franks that Oakman’s new garbage pickup through Republic Services is operating successfully.

After the council meeting, Oakman Police Chief Ken Marbury told the Daily Mountain Eagle that he would like to express his gratitude to Walker County Sheriff Jim Underwood for their department’s assistance in the recent drug roundup in Oakman.

Locals and officials were also complimentary of new flooring that has been installed in the Oakman Community Center and how it provides a welcoming atmosphere.

The town will continue updating the community center in the coming months.