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Congressman Bonner meets with the Chamber

By By MICHELE GERLACH Publisher
Potential federal funding for local projects ranging from a levee to the unearthing of historic Ft. Crawford was on the agenda when members of the Greater Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce's governmental committee met with U.S. Congressman Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) Thursday afternoon.
Pete Diurno told Bonner about ongoing work with the Corp of Engineers to study the feasibility of a levee protecting Brewton's business district from flood waters, sewerage problems related to Brewton's aging infrastructure, and the need for a by-pass or truck route and better access to the Interstate for Brewton residents.
Yank Lovelace discussed ongoing efforts to work with officials in Florida on Project FAST, an initiative to provide easy evacuation routes for Florida residents and tourists in the event of a hurricane.
Lovelace also discussed a proposed by-pass, and said that many Brewton residents feel that money expected to be spent to continue the four-laning of Hwy. 31 would be better spent creating a truck route around Brewton and creating better interstate access.
"Rural counties are in rough shape," Lovelace said, "especially when you start looking for jobs for the next generation."
East Brewton Mayor Terry Clark told Bonner that he supports a truck-route to reduce traffic through his city.
Bonner said he does not believe anything will happen with an evacuation route until the communities of Escambia County come together and agree to collectively work for a specific route.
Clark also said his community needs help with Fort Crawford in an effort to boost tourism.
Bonner said there is a possibility that federal historic preservation funds would be available for the project.
Lovelace also told Bonner about the establishment of the Tri-County Industrial Authority representing Escambia, Conecuh and Monroe counties and its plans for an industrial park at Hwy. 41 and I-65.
Others meeting with Bonner included Chamber president Randy Hunt, Mark Manning, Earl Lambert, Will Ruzic, Craig Klenk, Dave Jordan, Frank Nalty, Phillip Parker and Judy Crane.
Crane said the committee, chaired by Manning, scheduled the meeting several months ago.
Congressman Bonner will be back in town this week when he holds a town meeting at 3 p.m. Thursday, August 26, in the East Brewton City Hall.