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Everett pulls #036;750,000 for industrial park

While it has not yet been approved by the Senate, Congressman Terry Everett (R-Rehobeth) announced in a press release this week that the U.S. House of Representatives voted 242 to 176 on Monday to approve $750,000 in Federal funds for enhancements to the Butler County Industrial Park.

&uot;I am pleased to announce that these federal funds, which I personally requested for the Butler County Industrial Park, were included in the final House passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act,&uot; Everett said. &uot;This significant Federal appropriation is intended to match local funds to build transportation infrastructure at the Butler County Industrial Park and is critical to local efforts to make the industrial park ready for potential industry and local job growth.&uot;

The Consolidated Appropriations Act is a mammoth $820 billion package that is the vehicle by which many of the nation’s core funding needs are met. The act includes funding for such nationwide programs such as education, social security and law enforcement.

Everett’s press secretary, Mike Lewis, said Congressman Everett is hopeful the Senate will approve the bill and send it to President Bush to be signed into law.

&uot;It’s still up in the air,&uot; he said. &uot;The Senate has delayed voting on it until January and a number of senators have objected to some of the projects in it and its size. This happened last year and it looks like it will happen again. But we think it will pass and we’re hopeful.&uot;

He also said that if it comes to some of the funding being cut out of the bill, he didn’t think the Butler County Industrial Park funding would be in jeopardy.

&uot;It’s a huge, huge bill but we see no reason to think this particular project is on anyone’s radar screen so it shouldn’t be affected,&uot; he said. We obviously want to see it passed.&uot;

Butler County Probate Judge Steve Norman, who is the chairman of the Butler County Industrial Development Board, worked with other local officials to develop the funding request and get it to Everett for inclusion in the bill.

&uot;If it becomes a reality it’s a positive thing for Butler County,&uot; Norman said. &uot;If nothing else it will have a positive effect on the balance sheet for the industrial park and increase the value of the asset for the county.&uot;

Norman said the board wasn’t in a position yet to disclose what improvements the Federal funds would be used for.

&uot;Until it’s signed into law we can’t really give specifics on what we’d be able to spend it on,&uot; he said. &uot;When you don’t know what you can spend it on you’re just kind of wishing.&uot;

Earlier this year the industrial park also received a $500,000 Alabama Department of Transportation grant to help improve access by making it safer for vehicles traveling south on Highway 31 to turn into the park. The access improvements are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2004.