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1st step of Smart Growth grant is formation of committee

The ball is continuing to roll in the city of Atmore.

Last week, Smart Growth America, a free, grant-funded technical assistance program from the United States Department of Agriculture, sent an action plan to the city, detailing the next step in the process.

In February, officials with Smart Growth visited Atmore, and held a community meeting and an all-day workshop at the library. The workshop boiled down to doing an economic and health analysis of the projects the city is working on now, any already completed and those that are in the works for the future.

Jerry Gehman, who has been spearheading the process, said the first step includes a 30-day window from April 15 to respond to the required first steps of the grant.

“That is to formalize a committee and an agenda of said committee,” Gehman said. “This is not a social event, it’s a very specific work requirement they expect us to do.”

Gehman said Mayor Jim Staff, Tuscon Roberts, along with himself, have sent out invitations to those who could be on the committee.

He said they are aiming to have 15 members on the committee, which will meet twice a month for the foreseeable future.

“We’re going to meet and do a working lunch,” Gehman said. “We will hold our first meeting this week for formation. Then, we’ll start assigning tasks. We’ll go over the requirements Smart Growth has for us.”

Gehman said the committee will be made up of members from the health, education, retail, manufacturing and chamber officials.

Gehman said the committee will be making decisions, but final approval will go through the city council.

“The decisions required in this will have to be approved by the city council,” he said. “We’ll have issues to take before the city council. There are some requirements require council action.”