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8 tornado recovery projects in Tuscaloosa costing .8 million get approved for HUD funding
ARCHIVED PHOTO- People walk along the streets in the Alberta City neighborhood Thursday April 28, 2011, after a tornado struck Tuscaloosa, Ala. the day before. Massive tornadoes tore a town-flattening streak across the South, killing at least 269 people in six states and forcing rescuers to carry some survivors out on makeshift stretchers of splintered debris. (AP Photo/David Bundy)

-- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development approved a plan drafted by the city of Tuscaloosa to fund eight major recovery projects that will cost more than million, the city announced Tuesday afternoon.

The eight projects approved for federal funding are only the first of many that HUD money will help finance. . The money was geared to keep both recovery and growth alive after a devastating EF4 tornado damaged or destroyed more than 12 percent of the city's structures in April 2011.

The projects approved Tuesday are the first to use any of that money, meaning more than million in projects are still to be announced and approved.

Some of the funds are strictly linked to storm recovery. 0,000 will go to clearing tornado debris from approximately 20 lakes and other bodies of water in Tuscaloosa. million will be spent by Habitat for Humanity, who has given temporary and permanent housing to dozens of displaced families since the storm.

The big ticket items that were approved this week, though, are focused on moving the city forward as its leaders work to define the identity of Tuscaloosa as it grows into one of the largest and most successful cities in Alabama.

Those projects include the overhaul of the infrastructure of parts of the city's sewer and drainage systems as well as nearly million for the planning and development of a state of the art technology library in Alberta City, the district hit most directly by the tornado two years ago. The planned library will be 5,000 square feet, totally bookless, and unlike anything else in the state.

The federal funding for those eight projects and for anything fueled by the remaining million comes with an expiration date, though. The HUD funds are designed for immediate relief and recovery efforts. Any funds not spent within two years of HUD's approval of the project the money was tied to has to be returned.

Mayor Maddox has on more than one occasion said that the tight timeline for the complete of the projects funded by HUD money will mean planning and working at an unprecedented rate and condensing 8-10 years of work into two or less.

For a detailed look at the action plan detailing each of the projects listed below, .

PROJECTS APPROVED FOR HUD FUNDING Housing assistance0,000 Neighborhood lakes clean-up0,000 Hargrove Road and Hackberry Lane improvements2,247 Habitat for Humanity,000,000 Rosewood sewer project,710,000 Cedar Crest drainage improvements,200,000 Technology public library,800,000 University Place and Forest Lake infrastructure improvements,042,100
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