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TARCOG News & Headlines

Read on for recent happenings, announcements, and notable headlines from TARCOG and its communities throughout the region.

DeKalb County’s Powell Park celebrates new playground equipment

TARCOG Economic Development and Planning Director Lee Terry, TARCOG Executive Director Michelle Gilliam-Jordan, State Sen. Steve Livingston, Powell City Council members Reggie Byrum and Gurlon Lands, Speaker of the House Nathaniel Ledbetter, and Alabama’s Mountains, Rivers & Valleys Resource Conservation and Development Councils Executive Director, Renona Seibert

TARCOG helped secure funding

A colorful and interactive new playground is officially ready for action at Powell Park in DeKalb County thanks to $178,192 in grant funds from the combined efforts of TARCOG, town leaders, state legislators, the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Development Agency (ADECA), and the Alabama Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils (RC&D).

On Tuesday, Aug. 22, leaders gathered at the Granny Wigley Pavilion before heading across the street to visit the new playground area. Powell town leaders were also presented a check for $15,000 from RC&D. It was the final funding piece for the playground equipment. TARCOG helped the town apply for and receive a $148,000 Community Development Block Grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Development Agency (ADECA).

The Town of Powell also came up with an extra $15,192 for a new set of swings.

“It’s just not a park without swings,” said Powell Councilman Reggie Byrum. “We usually get compliments on the park every week … It has been a lengthy process and we’re thankful to be at the end of it where we have this beautiful park.”

The new hasn’t worn off but there’s evidence that Powell’s youngest residents have wasted no time putting the new equipment to use in recent months.

“There were lots of moving parts that made it possible and we are thankful for each one of those and our town is forever grateful for that,” Byrum said.

TARCOG Executive Director Michelle Gilliam-Jordan, said the agency was happy to make the grant submission to ADECA on behalf of the Town of Powell.

“We have grant season every year and the better the project the more opportunity to get it funded and this was just the right project,” Gilliam-Jordan said. “Thank you for your partnership. We’re excited every time we get a win it’s a win for North Alabama.”

Speaker of the House Nathaniel Ledbetter said he was glad to see the working relationships that facilitated the playground.

“There’s no question that Powell is proud of their park and it doesn’t look like this just today, it looks like this every day. It’s always clean and neat and certainly a gem for the town.”

Now that the new playground equipment including multiple slides and climbing features, interactive games, monkey bars and swings are fully installed, Byrum said the old playground equipment will be torn down immediately.

State Sen. Steve Livingston said the importance of pooling multiple resources was key to the project’s success.

“The sense of pride in Powell is obvious from the other side of the college to all the way to Rainsville and this park is just part of that,” Livingston said.

Powell Councilman Gurlon Lands also expressed his gratitude.

“Without every one of you, we couldn’t have done it,” Lands said.

Preparing to hand over a check for $15,000, Renona Siebert, executive director of Alabama Mountains, Rivers & Valleys (AMRV) RC&D, said all the partnerships combined make projects like the Powell playground a success.

“This may be the nicest playground I’ve ever seen right here in Powell,” said Drayton Cosby of the Cosby Company. “It just shows it doesn’t matter how big you are or how many people, you’ve got to have the right people so you can get something done.”


Top of Alabama Regional Council of Governments RECEIVES $583,722 Workforce Inclusion Grant

Center for Workforce Inclusion, Inc. awards grant directed to assist in workforce training for jobseekers 55+

Top of Alabama Regional Council of Governments (TARCOG) was awarded a $583,722 Workforce Inclusion grant from the Center for Workforce Inclusion, Inc. (Center). Almost 90 percent of this grant – originally from the U.S. Department of Labor – will provide temporary employment to no less than 105 low-income older Alabamians living in DeKalb, Jackson, Limestone, Madison, and Marshall Counties. These older adults will participate in the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), a cornerstone program of the Older Americans Act and the only federal job training program targeted exclusively to low-income, older jobseekers.

In its 59th year, SCSEP promotes personal dignity and self-sufficiency through work. The training attained through SCSEP provides in-demand skills for older, unemployed, low-income Americans. The Center, a top-tier U.S. Department of Labor National Grantee of SCSEP, works through a network of local partners delivering career training programs for eligible 50-plus-year- old workers across the United States. To date, the Center has served more than 500,000 eligible older workers in permanent employment through the SCSEP program. “Our long-term, local partners are a key to the strength of the Center and provide the systems to train older Americans into strategic advantage for employers across the country.” said Gary A. Officer, Center for Workforce Inclusion President, and CEO. “We are very pleased to continue our support of the Top of Alabama Regional Council of Governments for the 27th consecutive year.”

“SCSEP helps our community’s eligible 55+ jobseekers learn news skills and refresh old ones when they are coming back into the workforce,” said Michelle Jordan, Executive Director of TARCOG. At their training sites, SCSEP job seekers help local community, faith-based, and public agencies carry out their mission, such as the Scottsboro Senior Center, His Way Recovery in Huntsville, the United Givers Fund in DeKalb County, Athens Activity Center and the

Albertville Career Center. By working in SCSEP positions, SCSEP is providing hope and dignity to low-income, older job seekers who have the toughest employment challenges. This grant from the Center is essential to our being able to deliver these vital workforce training services to our community.”


About the Center for Workforce Inclusion

For 60 years, the Center for Workforce Inclusion has worked with older, low-income job seekers overlooked by traditional workforce programs. We trace our roots to the National Council of Senior Citizens, launched in 1962 to advocate for older Americans. We are now the only national entity dedicated exclusively to the workforce development needs of underserved workers over the age of 50. Since our founding, we have empowered nearly 500,000 clients to attain in- demand skills, overcome barriers to employment, and secure employment with more than 5,000 employers in industries that range from financial services, hospitality, and office administration to social services, health care, transportation, and manufacturing. For more information, please visit

Request for Proposals – TARCOG RPO SS4A Regional Comprehensive Safety Action Plan

The Top of Alabama Regional Council of Governments (TARCOG) is seeking proposals from firms and individuals to conduct a regional transportation safety action plan in partnership with TARCOG’s Rural Planning Organization (RPO). TARCOG was the recipient of U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT) Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) funding to assist our member governments in effectively identifying and addressing transportation safety concerns and ready them for potential implementation funding.

The Request for Proposal information and instructions is hyperlinked below. It is imperative that Respondents examine and become familiar with the SS4A grant program requirements established by US DOT Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Funding for the project has been made possible through this grant and is contingent on strict conformance to the guidelines set forth by FHWA.  Respondents shall comply with the stated Federal Grant Requirements.

Questions related to this RFP should be directed to SS4A Project Coordinator, Phoenix Robinson at

Responses shall not exceed 20 pages in length (excluding attachments) and must be submitted to the attention of the SS4A Project Coordinator electronically by 5:00 p.m. central, June 23, 2023. Responses received after the stated deadline will not be considered.

Download SS4A Request for Proposal (RFP) Instructions



TARCOG and the Rural Planning Organization are announcing its meeting schedule for the State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) outreach meetings. Meetings will be held across the region in each county. These meetings will be in coordination with the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT).

The STIP is a long-range plan that assesses the State’s transportation system and presents plans for improvement and maintenance. The document will provide a means to display the State’s current assets and examine where work will be needed in the future. Alabama’s transportation infrastructure includes the highway system, transit and rail lines, bicycle and pedestrian operations, freight operations, airports, and river and seaports. STIP Flyer

TARCOG and ALDOT are seeking citizen participation at these meetings.

Limestone/Madison Counties 

Jackson/ Dekalb

Marshall County


Section 5310 Applications Now Available

In our role as the Rural Planning Organization (RPO), TARCOG serves as the clearinghouse for all Section 5310 applications received from transit providers in both in the Huntsville Urbanized Area (City of Huntsville and Madison County) and in the rest of our five-county region on behalf of the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT).  Section 5310 Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities Program projects must be derived from a locally developed, Coordinated Human Services Transportation Plan (HSCTP) and endorsed by TARCOG to be eligible for funding consideration.

Full Section 5310 application information can be found at:

Completed applications must be received by TARCOG at 7037 Old Madison Pike, Suite 450, Huntsville, AL 35806 by 5:00 p.m. June 1, 2023, to be endorsed and subsequently forwarded to ALDOT.  For the current TARCOG Human Services Coordinated Transit Plan and ALDOT Section 5310 memos, please see below.


Statewide Memo

Huntsville Urbanized Area Memo

Please contact Sara James at with any questions.

TARCOG Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) Available for Public Comment

The Draft Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the Top of Alabama Regional Council of Governments (TARCOG) five county region is now available. The 30-day public review/comment period begins April 3, 2023, and ends May 3, 2023.

The TARCOG CEDS is a five-year plan serving both as a guiding vision and a “blueprint” for the economic growth of the region and as a benchmark with which to measure growth and success. The CEDS provides a current picture of the status of the region’s economy and documents progress towards economic development goals.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the development of our CEDS. This was an intensive and locally rooted process involving multiple community and stakeholder meetings to gather valuable input to develop TARCOG’s region wide goals and vision for economic development objectives over the next five years.

Please email any comments and/or feedback to Economic Development and Planning Director, Sara James at by the end of the comment period.



Investing in Appalachian Alabama

The Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association (AMLA) recently released this video promoting funding and investment opportunities available from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), an economic development partnership agency of the federal government and 13 state governments across the Appalachian region. Their mission is to innovate, partner and invest to build communities and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia.


Thirty-seven of Alabama’s 67 counties are located within the Appalachian region – including the entirety of the TARCOG region and many ARC investments have been made in our five counties over the past 50+ years.  TARCOG’s Executive Director, Michelle G. Jordan, is featured in the video speaking about this significant economic partnership and an ARC-funded project supporting STEM training opportunities in the Scottsboro City School System.

TARCOG RPO Selected for U.S. DOT Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) Funding

The Top of Alabama Regional Council of Governments (TARCOG) Rural Planning Organization (RPO) has been selected to receive $400,000 from the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) Grant Program. The grant will enable TARCOG planning staff to conduct the “Top of Alabama RPO Guide to Enhancing Transportation Safety (TARGETS),” a regional transportation safety planning process that will serve our four-county, 41-municipality RPO region.

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Request for Proposals – Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) Implementation Project – Redstone Arsenal

The Top of Alabama Regional Council of Governments (TARCOG) is seeking proposals from firms and individuals to implement key recommendations identified in the Redstone Arsenal Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) between the Arsenal and its surrounding communities. The Redstone Arsenal JLUS process focused on promoting compatible community growth around the installation to preserve military capabilities. A primary goal of Redstone Arsenal’s JLUS is to mitigate existing and prevent future incompatibility issues between base operations and local communities.  The JLUS implementation project seeks to work towards enacting key compatible use recommendations identified during the JLUS process.

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