When the storm hit Forkland on Jan. 12, Mayor Charlie McAlpine and the city council found the city was not as prepared for disaster as they thought. After the storm, they decided that something needed to be done. Mayor McAlpine approached the USDA for assistance.

From left to right are the Forkland Councilmen Joe Tuck and Alonzo Thomas; Allen Bowan, Acting State Director USDA; Mayor Charlie McAlpine, Councilor Emma Sugars and Robert Macon, Tuscaloosa Office Area Specialist USDA.

On Tuesday, the city of Forkland received a grant / loan package from USDA, Rural Development Department, Tuscaloosa Area Office to purchase a backhoe loader, grapple hook, tractor, two chainsaws, and a pole saw. The package includes a $ 31,000 loan and $ 89,000 grant.

The equipment is used by the city’s public works department to aid in basic maintenance such as debris removal. Much of the work that was previously commissioned can now be done by city workers, saving the community even more.

The Grant / Loan program provides affordable means of developing essential facilities for a local rural community. It is aimed at communities with a population of 5,500 or less and a median household income of less than 80% of the state’s non-metropolitan areas.

Shortly after Mayor McAlpine took office, the city developed a strategic plan. Much of his agenda has been realized in the past four years.

Several projects are currently in progress, including the modernization of two main roads with the possibility of improving a third.

After acquiring a building for a youth center that is currently under renovation, the city is developing a strategy for safe use before it opens.

Since the mayor took office, the city has set up a district court and reactivated the police authority. It now needs a place for these departments as well as an outdated fire brigade.

I am seeking support for this company, but one more proposal has been made by the USDA.