Twenty BP Restore Council projects approved in Baldwin County - Montgomery Alabama news.

Twenty BP Restore Council projects approved in Baldwin County


The Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council approved 20 Baldwin County projects to be funded by the first round of BP restore money.  They total more than $130 million dollars.   

It’s a process that’s taken several years to get to where we are, but we will soon see multiple projects moving forward.  The money comes from a one billion dollar damages settlement with BP after the Deep Water Horizon oil spill.  The Restore Council is made up of mayors and legislators from south Alabama and 20 projects in Baldwin County made the cut from more than 400 submitted.

“At the end of the day, Baldwin County got absolutely everything that we submitted a request for evaluation on,” said Baldwin County Commissioner, Chris Elliott.

Fairhope was approved for four projects, totaling nearly 18 million dollars.  Orange Beach came in with six at 10 and a half million.  Gulf Shores was approved for two projects at nearly 16 million and
Baldwin County will receive 86 million for their eight projects.

The county projects are largely for widening roads like what’s already being done on Highway 31 in Spanish Fort.   Highway 181 south of 64 and Canal Road between Orange Beach and Gulf Shores will follow.  Another important piece of the puzzle for the county is finishing the Baldwin Beach Express.  Eleven million dollars of this restore funding will go to purchasing the land.

 “This takes us another step to planting the flag in the ground and saying this is absolutely where it’s going,” Elliott explained.  “The permitting is taking place and is in hand.  The design work is done on the project.  Now we’re going to have the right-of-way acquired.”

It’s the last important step in being able to market the county’s mega-site to potential manufacturers. 

But, other areas will also get some help.  Lillian, Fort Morgan and Meaher State Park are all getting funding for various shoreline enhancement and beautification projects. 

More projects like these will be vetted out over the next 15 to 18 years as the one billion dollars in BP funds are doled out over time.   

Below is a complete list of the projects.

Alabama Point Seawall Repair (City of Orange Beach), $2,488,000 -- "The purpose of this project is to rebuild the existing Alabama Point Seawall with a more resilient method of construction for the tidally-influenced marine environment and to protect the recent improvements on the upland portion of the area."

Ambassadors of the Environment (City of Gulf Shores), $9,748,254 -- "The City of Gulf Shores will construct a state-of-the-art facility, utilizing the latest green building technologies, on 11.86 acres of City-owned property located adjacent to Gulf State Park. The architecture will mimic functional natural cycles found in the many habitat types that are easily accessible in coastal Alabama. The purpose ... is to create a sustainably-designed ecotourism program where participants can learn about the ecology, biodiversity, sustainability, and resource management of the northern Gulf of Mexico."

Baldwin Beach Express I-10 to I-65 Extension Right of Way Acquisition (Baldwin County), $11,340,000 -- "This submittal seeks funding for Right of Way (ROW) property acquisition to accommodate the proposed 24.5 mile Baldwin Beach Express extension between I-10 and I-65. The objective is to acquire all right-of-way necessary to move to the construction phase. Regional economic recovery, tourism, industrial growth, and public safety are supported and enhanced through the completion of this project."

Baldwin County ALDOT Capacity Improvements (Baldwin County), $56,800,000 -- "The Alabama Department of Transportation, Baldwin County, and the cities of Spanish Fort, Daphne, Fairhope, Orange Beach, and Gulf Shores are cooperatively pursuing the completion of five major infrastructure projects long-needed in the Gulf Coast Region to reduce congestion and enhance access to and between the surrounding areas."

Canal Road Improvements East of State Road 161 (City of Orange Beach), $1,848,270 -- "This project will promote community resilience and economic growth by addressing the hindrance of economic development on Canal Road east of and near the SR-161 intersection in Orange Beach. Growth of businesses and the tourism industry in Orange Beach have led to increased traffic volumes, resulting in a need to enhance capacity and efficiency."

Eastern Shore Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs) Prevention Plan (City of Fairhope), $1,000,000 -- "The purpose of this project is to minimize, or eliminate altogether, sanitary sewer overflows on the Eastern Shore resulting from insufficient capacity and inflow and infiltration from excess stormwater. In addition, the project aims to improve the overall water quality of Mobile Bay by protecting runoff to the Bay from sanitary sewers and sediment from stormwater erosion."

Environmental Restoration of Cotton Bayou & Terry Cove (City of Orange Beach), $500,000 -- "This project will develop an ecological understanding of the environmental and ecological health of the Cotton Bayou/Terry Cove Systems with an outcome to understand what restoration activities would enhance the overall health of the system. This planning activity will provide engineering and design and a cost estimate for proposed restoration.

Expansion of the Orange Beach Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center (City of Orange Beach), $183,500 -- "The purpose of this project is to expand the capacity and capabilities of the current rehabilitation facility to accommodate additional types of species. These improvements will also allow an upgrade from short and intermediate rehabilitation terms to long term rehabilitation resulting in less transfers and euthanasia outcomes."

Fairhope Area Community-Based Comprehensive Land Use Plan (City of Fairhope), $650,000 -- "This project involves the creation of a community-driven comprehensive land use plan for the City of Fairhope to address growth with an emphasis on environmental stewardship and a legal foundation for implementation."

Fairhope Sewer Upgrade Phase I (City of Fairhope), $10,000,000 -- "The project proposed in Phase I will address the most urgent needs within the sewer system by instituting major rehabilitation measures for the complete replacement of 4 main pump stations and rehabilitation of the major gravity outfall lines utilizing cost-effective and environmentally sensitive engineering solutions."

Fort Morgan Parkway Trail Extension (ADCNR, State Parks), $4,433,600 -- "This project proposes to extend and ultimately complete the Fort Morgan Parkway Trail from Fort Morgan Historical Park to Gulf State Park and includes the construction of a midzone to provide parking, restroom facilities, and interpretive signage. When completed, the Fort Morgan Parkway Trail will provide approximately 30 miles of recreation trail from Fort Morgan to Orange Beach and will connect with numerous trial spurs and loops along the way."

Gulf Coast Engineering Research Station (Auburn University), $9,000,000 -- "This project proposes the construction of the GCERS facility in Orange Beach to support fundamental and applied engineering research for coastal issues in Alabama, including water quality, restoration and protection of natural resources, and coastal emergency management. Additionally, this project includes two years' funding for operations and maintenance (O&M) of facility."

Gulf Coast Wildlife Recovery and Interpretive Center: Feasibility, Planning & Preliminary Design (City of Orange Beach), $275,000 -- "This project proposes planning and design to expand the Gulf Coast Wildlife Recovery and Interpretive Center in Orange Beach. Once implemented, this facility would provide rehabilitation services for a variety of species as well as tourism and stewardship opportunities."

Lillian Park Beach Habitat and Shoreline Protection (Baldwin County), $626,460 -- "Implementation of this project will establish a stable sand beach shoreline to improve public safety while mitigating wave energy contributions to beach erosion and habitat loss along Perdido Bay."

Little Lagoon Restoration Project (City of Gulf Shores), $5,995,686 -- "This project will restore and improve approximately 2,500 acres of habitat within Little Lagoon by creating 1,000 feet of living shorelines, improving hydrologic connectivity of the existing canal system, converting approximately 200 septic systems, restoring shellfish and marsh/seagrass, and conducting ecological research and long-term monitoring."

Longevity, Stability & Water Quality Improvements, Bon Secour DMDA (Baldwin County), $340,744 -- "This submittal seeks funding to replace an aging and structurally failing weir structure at the Bon Secour Dredge Material Disposal Area (DMDA) used by the US Corps of Engineers to dispose of dredged material from the Bon Secour River."

Meaher Park Improvements (ADCNR, State Parks), $3,450,000 -- "This project will add 156 full service campsites, as well as parking, bath houses, a fishing pier, and utility infrastructure to Meaher Park in Spanish Fort. In addition, 10 RV park model cabins will be installed along with appropriate skirting, decking, steps, and/or ramps."

New Stream-Gaging Station on Fish River at Co Rd 32 (Baldwin County), $87,250 -- "This submittal seeks funding for a new stream-gaging station on Fish River at Baldwin County Road 32 to assist authorities in flood forecasting and flood alert efforts. Additional river stage and streamflow data for Fish River will improve managers' ability to predict the timing and magnitude of flood events, thereby helping protect property and lives."

Orange Beach North Sewer Force Main Upgrade (City of Orange Beach), $5,195,000 -- "This project consists of the replacement of approximately 8 miles of sewer force main from a point on Highway 180 in Orange Beach to an existing lift station on County Road 12. The area benefitted by this upgrade will include areas north and east of Wolf Bay to Josephine as well as areas directly served by the force main."

Working Waterfront and Greenspace Restoration Project (City of Fairhope), $6,200,000 -- "This project will include improvements to the Fairhope Municipal Pier, Pier Landing, and South Beach Park to insure resiliency, sustainability, and human interaction of the City of Fairhope's most precious resource: its waterfront."

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