MARSHALL CO., Ala. (WHNT) — The City of Boaz will be using hundreds of thousands of dollars to help bring jobs back to the area.
“Boaz has had a couple of really hard licks in the last few years,” Marshall County Commission Chair James Hutcheson said.
The Pilgrim’s plant shutdown hit the area hard, leaving hundreds of people without a job and a large building empty.
That’s not the only major closure in the city. An outlet mall in Boaz shut down a few years ago as well.
“The mayor and I went down and talked with the state highway director and just asked him ‘Hey, can you help Boaz out some, with some infrastructure money, and maybe attract some new business to the area?'” Hutcheson said.
From that conversation the city was awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars from the state.
“The state highway director was very generous in my opinion, and gave the city of Boaz $700,000,” Hutcheson says.
The city and the county won’t have to pay back or match any of the funds. The hope is improving the city’s infrastructure will also help recruit more businesses to the area.
“When businesses come in and look at a city, one of the first things they look at is the street departments and the infrastructure,” Hutcheson said. “So what we’re trying to do is help Boaz, bring them up, so maybe they can recruit new business and that’s the main reason.”
Since the funds are unrestricted the city can use them however it wishes for infrastructure improvements.
Boaz Mayor Tim Walker says the plan is to pave several roads in the city. “We’re in a mode to recruit business and industry to our community and this money is going to help us do that, more than people realize.”
Paving feeder roads like Mount Vernon Drive and roads where there is industry are on the city’s list of projects to be completed with the funds.
Mayor Walker says the plan has been to pave the roads and fix the infrastructure in some parts of the city, but he says with the existing budget it would have taken some time. Mayor Walker says this money will help speed up that process.
“This is going to allow us to really take things further and have a larger paving program than Boaz has ever had in its history,” Mayor Walker says.