SPANISH FORT, Ala. (WKRG) — A birthday celebration for Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, but it was communities across Baldwin and Mobile counties receiving the gift — $41 million of Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act funding for 17 projects from Foley to Dauphin Island.

“These types of projects are not intended for economic development,” said Ivey. “But instead to insure coastal Alabama remains a place of beauty and easily accessible to Alabamians and to our visitors.”

The largest chunk of the money, $8.5 eight million, is going to the city of Spanish Fort to buy 142 acres off Highway 225 called Cypress Point. “We plan on building a family-friendly park with piers so you can have access to the water, kayak launches, canoe launches, picnic areas, walking trails so we have an opportunity to do something really special down there,” said Spanish Fort Mayor Mike McMillan.

Another $8 million will go to the city of Mobile Riverfront Park enhancement. In all, five land acquisitions, six public park enhancements, projects dealing with stormwater runoff and litter traps, “We have to protect that area, protect the neighborhoods from overdevelopment so it’s a great thing for everybody,” McMillan said.

Four Gulf states allow oil and gas drilling off-shore. The money comes from the federal Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, GOMESA, and in Alabama specifies funds be spent only in Mobile and Baldwin counties, but that is not guaranteed on a state level. State Senator Chris Elliott pre-filled a bill Friday to change that, “I think it is crucially important given what we have seen happen to oil revenue money in the past.”

The announcement of these latest projects brings the total to $100 million of GOMESA-funded projects in Mobile and Baldwin counties.

LIST OF GOMESA PROJECTS

City of Spanish Fort Cypress Point Land Acquisition; $8,500,000

Spanish Fort Mayor Mike McMillan: “Through the GOMESA program, Governor Kay Ivey has provided the City of Spanish Fort and all the people of Baldwin County a tremendous opportunity to protect and preserve one of the unspoiled gems of Baldwin County and the surrounding land linking Bay Minette Creek to the Mobile River Delta. The acquisition of these 142 acres with GOMESA funds will allow for preservation of natural and historic areas in perpetuity, preserving this beautiful site from overdevelopment. This site is an optimal location for a waterfront park, with features including picnic areas, walking trails, waterfront access, piers and interpretive monuments and signs.  The site was previously approved by Baldwin County for a multi-family mixed-use development. By acquiring the property for public use, the State and the City of Spanish Fort will be able to protect the property from future development.  The City of Spanish Fort would like to thank Governor Ivey and her staff for working with the City to preserve this beautiful piece of property. With quick access from I-10, U.S. HWY 31 and State HWY 225, this site will serve as an attractive location for tourists and residents of the State as they travel through Baldwin County. The project enhances the State of Alabama’s efforts to preserve and protect the natural beauty of the Mobile River Delta and surrounding areas, while providing enhanced recreational opportunities for the public.”

City of Mobile Riverfront Park Enhancements: Reconnect with the River; $8,000,000

Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson: “Thanks to Governor Ivey for continuing to invest in the City of Mobile to preserve our beautiful natural resources and ensure access to the waterways that make our City such a special place to live. These GOMESA funds will help make it possible for citizens to enjoy the Mobile Riverfront for generations to come.”

Cedar Point Public Access Acquisition; $2,254,500

Mobile Commissioner Randal Dueitt: “The acquisition of Cedar Point Pier, along with projects like Bayfront Park’s pending expansion and the Dauphin Island Causeway restoration project, will continue transforming the coastline of south Mobile County, increase public access to water and advance conservation efforts, which are priorities for District 3.”

University of South Alabama Healthy Ocean Initiative; $2,018,880

“This funding will play a critical role in establishing the University of South Alabama’s new School of Marine and Environmental Sciences as a state and regional leader in addressing challenges facing the coast, while enhancing our ability to educate and train the next generation of environmental and marine scientists,” said USA Interim President John Smith. “Through this grant, Governor Kay Ivey and Commissioner Chris Blankenship are supporting coastal protection and fisheries conservation now and in the future.”

Baldwin County Magnolia River Watershed Constructed Wetlands and Regional Detention – Kelly Pit Mitigation Site; $4,000,000

Baldwin County Commission Chairman Joe Davis: “We greatly appreciate Governor Ivey investing a portion of the state‘s GOMESA funding in Baldwin County. This project will provide funding toward the conversion of an existing borrow pit into a constructed wetland to improve water quality and reduce flooding within the Magnolia River Watershed as well as the Weeks Bay Watershed.  We look forward to working with our partners in Magnolia Springs and Foley to alleviate flooding and stormwater issues within our important watersheds.”

City of Daphne Public Access Improvement Project through the Expansion of Bayfront Park; $4,000,000

“The City of Daphne is honored to receive an award from the GOMESA fund,” says Mayor Robin LeJeune of Daphne. “We would like to thank Governor Ivey and the Commissioner of DCNR Chris Blankenship for believing in our vision to bring our beautiful amenity, Mobile Bay, to everyone. It is an unbelievable honor.”

Dauphin Island Aloe Bay Living Shoreline, HabitatProtection and Public Access Amenities; $2,211,700

Dauphin Island Mayor Jeff Collier: “Governor Ivey and Commissioner Blankenship are to be commended for their collective efforts to identify and fund meaningful projects that enhance environmental stewardship while providing convenient public access to the vast natural resources throughout south Alabama. This project supports these goals by creating a living shoreline to provide long term projection to our local wastewater treatment facility property and adjacent ecotourism acreage.”

City of Foley Nature Parks Expansion & Enhancements; $2,500,000

City of Foley Mayor Ralph Hellmich: “The City of Foley is honored that Governor Ivey shares the vision of protecting our environment by helping us to expand our Graham Creek Nature Preserve.  Through this GOMESA Grant we will preserve lands for generations to come.  Thank you to Governor Ivey and her staff at ADCNR for this honor.”

City of Fairhope North Triangle Nature Park;$999,989

City of Fairhope Mayor Sherry Sullivan: “The City of Fairhope is honored to have been selected for GOMESA funding to develop one of our most beautiful natural assets into the North Triangle Nature Park. With multiuse trails and plans to construct an outdoor classroom, we believe this greenspace preservation project will not only protect the Fly Creek watershed but also offer endless opportunities for residents and visitors alike to become more acquainted with the diverse ecosystem the property offers.”

Mobile County Water, Sewer and Fire Protection Wastewater Facilities for Southeastern Mobile County, Fowl River Road to Joe Carl Road;$1,612,500

Mobile County Water, Sewer and Fire Protection Authority General Manager Joe Summersgill: “Mobile County Water, Sewer and Fire Protection Authority is delighted to receive funding for the Wastewater Facilities for Southeastern Mobile County, Fowl River Road to Joe Carl Road. This septic-to-sewer conversion project is a meaningful part of our overall plan to mitigate potential septic impacts on the local wetlands and waterways of Mobile County. As our coastal population continues to develop and grow, MCWS’ goal is to provide reliable sanitary sewer to all customers in our territory.”

Bayou la Batre Utilities Board Sewer, North System Improvements; $1,629,477

Utilities Board of the City of Bayou La Batre, Chairman Sylvia Raley: “The Utilities Board of The City of Bayou La Batre is thankful to Governor Ivey and ADCNR for the opportunity to receive GOMESA 2021 funding for the North System Improvements.  This high priority project is a continuation of our completed and currently underway projects to protect our delicate ecosystem from potential septic leaks. This project is part of our big picture to protect waterways and wildlife. Additionally, as a result, we protect our seafood industry and the health & welfare of our residents.”

Daphne Utilities Board Windscape Lift Station Force Main Extension at D’Olive Creek; $607,500

Daphne Utilities General Manager Scott Polk: “Daphne Utilities is excited to be awarded a GOMESA Grant that will allow us to upgrade a critical portion of our sanitary sewer system. Improving this area of our system will greatly assist Daphne Utilities in preventing future sanitary sewer overflows caused by heavy rains and help ensure the integrity of our local watershed. We are extremely appreciative of Governor Ivey’s consideration for this project and would like to thank her and everyone else that assisted in helping Daphne Utilities receive this grant.”

City of Loxley Corn Creek Tributary Restoration;$250,000

Mayor of Loxley Richard Teal: “On behalf of the Town of Loxley we are very appreciative for being selecting as a recipient for the GOMESA grant and would like to thank Governor Ivey for this great opportunity. This stream restoration project will benefit not only the environment but the community also. The benefits of our project are immeasurable and will definitely have a positive impact for our area.”

Billy Goat Hole Boat Ramp Replacement; $1,313,400

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Marine Resources Division Director Scott Bannon: “Dauphin island is a fishing and boating destination for the residents of south Alabama and the southeastern United States and the Billy Goat Hole Boat Launch is critical to providing that access.  The current ramps and piers have endured over 20 years of hurricanes, tropical storms and in excess of 100,000 boat launchings. Replacing the existing ramps and docks with safer and more efficient ones, as well as increasing access to those with disabilities, is a real win for those accessing the great opportunities in South Alabama and we are thankful for Governor Ivey’s recognition of this.”

ADEM Coastal Area Litter Traps; $1,000,000

“On behalf of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, I want to thank Gov. Ivey for including funding to protect our coastal area waterways,” ADEM Director Lance LeFleur said. “It is recognition that these waters are critical not only to the state’s environment, but to the state’s economy as well. One of the most persistent threats to our coastal ecosystems is waterborne trash and litter. This funding will enable ADEM, working in partnership with local governments and community groups, to expand the deployment of permanent litter traps which have proved effective in capturing litter that can harm wildlife and the environment so critical to the area.”

5 Rivers Delta Resource Center Facility Improvements; $253,275

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, State Lands Division Director Patti McCurdy: “The 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center has been providing a public gateway to the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta for almost 15 years. Strategically located to serve Mobile and Baldwin Counties, 5 Rivers has consistently offered a critical meeting location for community groups, local governments and area businesses. Quality public recreation and education offerings at 5 Rivers also attract approximately 65,000 visitors and 5,000 students annually. Thanks to Governor Ivey, GOMESA funding will support key energy efficiency upgrades and needed structural repairs ensuring that 5 Rivers will continue to benefit Alabama’s coastal communities.”

Administration of GOMESA; $280,321



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