$300K grant to aid I-22 upgrades
by James Phillips
Mar 13, 2012 | 1558 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A state grant awarded for improvements to a Jasper road is expected to pave the way for several new jobs in the city and encourage future development along Interstate 22.

Gov. Robert Bentley announced Monday that Jasper had been awarded a $300,000 community development block grant through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs to help widen and improve Whitehouse Road, a two-lane road adjacent to I-22.

“I-22 is beginning to live up to its promise of growth and new jobs for northwest Alabama,” Bentley said in a press release. “Improving infrastructure along this route from Birmingham to Memphis will help area residents to receive the full benefit of the potential job growth that will come from increased commercial, retail and industrial development.”

The work to be done to Whitehouse Road will benefit the Love’s Travel Stop that is currently under construction near the road. The 10-acre site will include a convenience store and two fast-food restaurants, with that development adding 80 jobs. Jasper Mayor Sonny Posey said the two restaurants will be a McDonald’s and a Subway, with both being located inside the Love’s.

“We are happy the state came through on the grant,” Posey said. “The governor recognizes the importance of new jobs in our area, and that is what this project is going to bring.”

The project will include the widening and resurfacing of Whitehouse Road to accommodate the Love’s plaza and future developments. Love’s officials estimate 5,000 vehicles a week will stop at the plaza, increasing not only local tax revenue, but enticing other businesses to locate at the interchange.

Posey said he expects more businesses to locate in the area, with announcements “possible anytime now.”

“There will be a domino effect,” he said. “It was Carl Cannon, now Love’s Travel Stop. We’ve got two or three other things that we may be announcing soon.”

ADECA is administering the grants from funds made available to the state by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. ADECA administers a wide range of programs that support law enforcement, economic development, infrastructure upgrades, recreation, energy, water resources, job training and career development.