United front by Birmingham, Jefferson County should pay off in post-tornado federal aid, officials say
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Mayor William Bell and Jefferson County Commissioners Sandra Little Brown and Joe Knight said today that their unified trip to Washington, D.C., to discuss long term planning and tornado recovery efforts in Alabama sent a strong message of members of Congress.
"As Republicans and Democrats we together sensitized the need of restoring our city and county," Brown said.
Bell said the local group was encouraged that the entire congressional delegation was "supportive in our efforts to make sure that the federal government is a strong partner as we go forward to try to build those areas that were hit by the tornado."
Knight said local officials are beginning the long-range phase of recovery efforts from the April 27 tornadoes.
"We talked about developing some community shelters and maybe a dual purpose facility that will serve as maybe a recreational center or community center and a shelter in the event of another storm, he said.
The local group, which included Birmingham City Council President Roderick Royal, met with U.S. Housing and Urban and Development officials on Wednesday followed by talks with U.S. Reps. Terri Sewell and Spencer Bachus, chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services.
They also met with Sens. Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby and on Thursday U.S. Reps. Robert Aderholt and Mike Rogers.