Gov. Kay Ivey on Tuesday announced that Decatur will receive a $750,000 COVID-19 recovery act grant that the city plans to use on a variety of needs, from rental and utility assistance and small business loans to fire and rescue equipment.

Decatur Community Development Manager Allen Stover said $314,000 of the funding will pay for five cardiac monitors, five mechanical chest compression devices, five laryngoscopes and personal protective equipment for Decatur Fire & Rescue.

“It’s a great benefit for the citizens,” said Fire Chief Tracy Thornton. “And it saves the city a lot of money getting this grant.”

When the new LUCAS CPR devices and cardiac monitors are available, “we will be able to put brand-new equipment on front-line trucks, and the older equipment will be put in staff and reserve vehicles,” Thornton said. That way, department staff will have equipment if they’re out and close to a call and can respond quickly.

Thornton said the video laryngoscope features a screen so its user can avoid “being right down in (the patient’s) face” while examining the throat.

Another $353,000 will go toward loans for small businesses impacted by the pandemic.

“We will administer that program,” Stover said. “We’ve still got to get that program solidified.”

Ivey on Tuesday announced grants of $4.5 million — with Tuscaloosa also receiving $750,000 and Birmingham and Mobile each receiving $1.5 million. The awards are part of more than $40 million allocated to Alabama under a special Community Development Block Grant program funded from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The money must be spent on projects relating to the recovery from or preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus or any future infectious diseases.

According to Stover, the Decatur City Council is to vote on accepting the grant at its regular meeting May 17.

The Decatur grant provides $70,000 in rental, mortgage and utility assistance, Stover said. “We’ll partner with the Community Action Partnership of North Alabama to make these funds available,” he said. It will be two to three weeks before that funding is available, according to Stover.

Rental assistance is already available through CAPNA to qualifying individuals in Decatur and Morgan County affected by COVID-19 and the agency also provides utility assistance.

The grant will also provide $13,000 for a walk-in freezer for Hands Across Decatur, a nonprofit focused on meeting the needs of the homeless.

Ivey said in the release that additional grants to other Alabama cities and counties will be announced as applications are processed.

“As Alabama continues to make progress to end this pandemic, these funds will help people in some of Alabama’s largest cities to rebound from COVID-19,” Ivey said.

The funds were made available to the state by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and can be used to support COVID-19 testing and vaccinations; rental, mortgage and utility assistance; assistance to food banks and pantries; job creation and business assistance and related projects to provide pandemic relief.

Alabama counties and entitlement communities receiving the CDBG-COVID funds were required to make an application with the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. Stover said the city applied for the grant early this year.

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