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CAWACO grant helped master plan take shape

The CAWACO RC&D Council has presented its share of grants throughout the central Alabama region over the years, including one that helped with the formulation of the recently announced Exit 212 master plan final draft.

“They focus on rural growth and development,” Chilton County Industrial Development Authority Executive Director Whitney Barlow said.

According to Barlow, CAWACO stated that they like to partner with rural communities as they try and figure out their road maps for where they want to go in the future.

In this case, the master plan will serve as Chilton County’s road map for possible growth.

“As we all know when you have a map, it’s a lot easier to get where you’re going,” Barlow said.

The grant was $15,000 and helped pay a portion of the funding for the development of the master plan.

“CAWACO really encourages their counties to look into avenues like this,” Barlow said. “We are looking to partner with them on a couple of other planning grants that we are trying to do with broadband being one of them.”

CAWACO’s coverage area includes Chilton, Blount, Walker, Jefferson and Shelby counties.

“They are very interested in the project, because of what the farm center is going to represent and that it is promoting agriculture,” Barlow said.

The $15,000 grant joined the financial stack that was offered up by the City of Clanton and the county to help in the construction of the master plan.

The end result of the funding was the master plan presentation that took place on July 29.

“What makes the master plan such a great thing is that it shows a tremendous collaboration of local groups starting to work together,” Barlow said. “For any rural county that is huge because when they all start working together, it compounds and the synergy is there, and it grows like it’s supposed to.”