USDA awards more than $700,000 to help create thriving, livable communities that attract people and jobs to rural Alabama

MONTGOMERY, Alabama, November 18, 2022 – Nivory Gordon, Director of Rural Development for the State of Alabama for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), announced today that as part of the Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge (RPIC ) in Alabama, the USDA. Placemaking is a collaborative planning and technical support process that helps rural community leaders create quality places where people want to live, work, visit and learn.

“The investments announced today will help improve the quality of life in two communities in Alabama,” said Gordon. “From helping our rural communities harness Alabama’s vast natural resources and cultural history through the harnessing of the recreational economy, to creating opportunities for technology entrepreneurship in our rural areas, the USDA stands ready to help develop solutions making rural Alabama a place that people can be proud to call home.”

The support will help the organizations support people who are unserved or underserved and live in vulnerable communities and rural areas in Alabama.

The organizations will provide technical assistance to help people apply for and access government resources for projects to boost economic growth and attract jobs.

The organizations will work directly with people in rural communities to develop plans to ensure people have access to high-speed internet in their homes, live in affordable housing, have access to safe and reliable transportation to get to and from school going to work and more. With this help, the communities are supported for up to two years.

In Alabama, awards include:

In Walker County, the Greater Birmingham Regional Planning Commission will use a $250,000 collaborative agreement to coordinate outdoor recreation planning to develop an ecotourism destination industry in the cities of Dora, Parrish and Nauvoo. The commission will develop strategic plans for economic development for each target community and support each target community through a detailed survey evaluating ways and methods to build an outdoor recreation economy.

In Dallas, Lowndes and Perry counties, The Conservation Fund will use a $202,396 collaborative agreement to convene a coalition of diverse partners and stakeholders to protect multiple vulnerable civil liberties and black history sites and implement actionable strategies to maximize these community-based assets to develop supporting a greater social and cultural vitality of these rural communities.

In Dallas County, Rural Innovation Strategies Inc. will use a portion of a $247,864 collaboration agreement to work with local leaders in Selma to lay the foundations for equitable, sustainable, and thriving live-work-play ecosystems that scalable tech -Can support entrepreneurship inside the city. The organization will also use this investment to undertake similar work under this collaborative agreement in Pine Bluff, Arkansas and Rutland, Vermont.

Additional investments across the country as part of this announcement will be made in rural and tribal communities in Arkansas, California, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin. For more information about the program, visit To access a placemaking toolkit and additional resources, visit: Rural Placemaking – Rural Development (

Under the Biden-Harris administration, rural development provides loans and grants to expand economic opportunity, create jobs, and improve the quality of life for millions of rural Americans. This aid supports infrastructure improvements; Business development; Housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed Internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. Visit for more information. To subscribe to USDA rural development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscribers page.

The USDA touches the lives of all Americans in so many positive ways every day. In the Biden-Harris administration, the USDA is transforming the American food system with a stronger focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food in all communities, and building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers who adopt climate-friendly food and forestry practices, make historic investments in clean energy infrastructure and capacity in rural America, and advocate for justice across the Department by removing systemic barriers and making one more representative of America workforce to be built up. To learn more, visit