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Sweet music: Three towns on Singing River Trail win $5.7M in grants

MOORESVILLE — The legend is true.

Strange musical notes are floating over the face of the Singing River’s waters.

It sings a song of health and wellness, of a flourishing economy, of education, entrepreneurship, and opportunities for people and for communities along North Alabama’s Singing River Trail.

Thanks go to U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville), who provided $5.7 million in federal money to support the design, planning, and construction of Singing River Trail sections in Courtland, Town Creek, and Leighton.

The Singing River Trail provides 220 miles of connections and collaboration with small towns, cities and historic sites across the region.

Regional leaders and elected officials have been instrumental in not only helping to connect towns like Courtland, Town Creek and Leighton to the Singing River Trail, but the existence of the SRT has made those towns eligible for federal funding.

The true beauty in the investment, however, is that those city’s downtown areas will be eligible for funds for improvements, especially in places where they touch the SRT.

“With the help and support of Courtland Mayor Linda Peebles, Town Creek Mayor Mike Parker, Leighton Mayor Derick Silcox and Colbert County Chairman Tommy Barnes, we were able to pitch our ‘Try-Town’ approach – that is three towns, two counties, and the Singing River Trail working hard to create a better future for the people and communities of North Alabama,” said SRT Executive Director John Kvach. “And guess what … it worked to the tune of $4.1 million.”

Courtland won a $1.6 million RAISE grant to redesign a 100-year-old railroad bridge that needs to be replaced for safety reasons. It also blocks SRT progress and a new bridge will be built to modern specifications that will accommodate the Singing River Trail along Jefferson Street.

Leighton had received a $1 million TAP grant to build the Singing River Trail into the downtown area.

According to Kvach, the Singing River Trail has now helped raise $6.7 million for this 17-mile stretch of beautiful Alabama land.

“And this all happened after Courtland, Town Creek, and Leighton invested a grand total of $30,000 to support SRT,” said Kvach. “Not a bad return on an investment.”

Last year, SRT secured a $1 million TAP grant for Gurley.

Gurley is redesigning its downtown district with the Singing River Trail as the centerpiece of the commercial district surrounded by the town’s park.

There are several cities along the SRT which have made the same investment including Huntsville, Madison, Athens, Decatur, and Bridgeport.

“They invest in SRT because they believe in a common regional vision,” said Kvach.

Several more north Alabama cities are up for consideration including Scottsboro, Paint Rock, Gurley, Triana, Mooresville, South Pittsburg and Bridgeport.

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