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Governor’s office awards $100K to Hodges

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Gov. Robert Bentley has awarded $1.6 million in grants to improve recreation opportunities in Alabama – $100,000 right here in Hodges for Rock Bridge Canyon/Overton Farm.

According to a Thursday morning press release, the grants were awarded from funds made available to the state through the Recreational Trails Program, which is a program of the Federal Highway Administration. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grants.

“I am excited about the wonderful outdoor projects going on within our state and the enthusiasm surrounding them,” Bentley said. “Alabama is truly an outdoor paradise, and trails are a wonderful way to experience the wonders of our state. I am delighted in playing a role in these projects.”

ADECA Director Jim Byard Jr. added, “Alabama’s diverse topography makes for some of the best trails anywhere. I value the partnerships that ADECA has made with communities, volunteers and professionals that make these trails happen and make our communities great. I am pleased that these grants will develop new recreational opportunities.”

The Hodges grant is designated to build a multi-purpose trail connecting Overton Farm to Rock Bridge Canyon and build a covered arena, according to the press release. The new trail will tie in with 27 miles of existing equestrian trail.

In regards to the trail, contracts are set to be discussed – and hopefully finalized – at Monday’s Hodges Town Council meeting. Park director Mike Franklin said he is excited about the grant and to see the project hopefully moving forward.

Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow, who has been an active advocate for the Overton Farm restoration, said, “I want to thank everybody who had a part in the grant. It’s project I’ve been working on now for years. I just hope we can all pull together and reopen Overton Farm and make Rock Bridge Canyon what I know it can be for tourism in Northwest Alabama. The potential is enormous.”

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