PHIL CAMPBELL — Mayor-elect Steve Bell said he knows when he takes office in November he’s stepping into the ongoing challenge of rebuilding the town after the April 27, 2011, tornadoes destroyed much of its infrastructure.
“But that being said, the previous administration has done a great job,” Bell said.
Mayor Jerry Mays, who did not run for re-election, said Phil Campbell has been approved for numerous grants. As recently as Sept. 3, the town received a $150,000 grant to install a splash pad where the old swimming pool was located, adjacent to the town park’s pavilion and swings.
The grant covered half of the splash pad’s cost, but Mays said $150,000 in city property insurance covered the difference.
Work is also ongoing in the industrial park. The Economic Development Administration awarded $1.6 million to aid in construction costs, and the $400,000 matching funds the grant required were covered by money set aside by Gov. Robert Bentley, Mays said.
“Part of that ($1.6 million) will be used to purchase a water tank for fire suppression, and we’re also putting in a sewage system that will come from the industrial park and run by several low-income houses,” Mays said. “It will provide tremendous relief for the city sewer department.”
A $400,000 community development grant jump started the process of installing additional water lines to feed the water tank, while a $650,000 grant from the Alabama Department of Transportation will cover the costs of constructing the driveway entrance to the park, as well as the acceleration lane, which allows motorists to ease onto the main road, and the deceleration lane, which allows motorists to slow down and ease off major roads before to making a turn.
Mays said Sen. Roger Bedford, D-Russellville, also secured a $600,000 grant to be used to build infrastructure within the industrial park.
“We’ve also applied for $5 million to rebuild the downtown area of Phil Campbell, and we’ve applied for $300,000 to redo the pavement that was torn up, as well as applied for $1.5 million in (Federal Emergency Management Agency) money.
“We’ve got it to the point where it cannot go backward.”
Bell said he, too, has a few ideas up his sleeve, but none he can share just yet.
“It’s still too premature to make a statement,” he said. “(I will say) I’ve been approached by another business about possibly moving into the industrial park, but until we have a definite yes, I’d better not say anything.”
S&T Montgomery Distributing Co., which sells car audio accessories and consumer electronics, has already made plans to move into the industrial park.
“There’s a lot of work going on, and I really believe within the next year we should see a lot of growth. It’s an exciting time in Phil Campbell.”
Hannah Mask can be reached at 256-740-5728 or hannah.mask@TimesDaily.com.