HEFLIN — It was a day of celebration on Monday as the Coosa Valley Resource Conservation and Development Council recognized two of its numerous grant projects for fiscal year 2021 in Cleburne County.
The day started off in Heflin where state legislators, elected officials and friends gathered to hear about the renovations at the Lucile L. Morgan Public Library.
The library received a grant from RC&D for $7,000 to install new large windows and a new door and to rework the ceiling. RC&D’s executive director, Heidi Richards, said the initial grant for the library and other grants awarded in the county grow substantially in what she called leverage when municipalities and businesses donate to the project.
Once the library was awarded the grant the momentum to improve the library was helped by Robby Brown Construction, Webb Concrete, Cleburne County Commission, Littleton Electric, City of Heflin, Calhoun County Sheriff Office and Fred Cain who is the county’s maintenance supervisor.
When the project was finished the library not only had new windows, a new door and new ceiling, but also a concrete patio with railing, new parking, new plumbing, reworked bathrooms, new kitchen and new interior lighting fixtures.
Cleburne County Commissioner Emmett Owen donated his discretionary funds to buy railings for the new patio.
Founded in 1965 to serve just four counties, the Coosa Valley RC&D Council is a 501(c) 3 tax-exempt organization that now serves eleven counties in east-central Alabama. It’s dedicated to protecting and developing natural and human resources, according to a mission statement on its social media page.
Stacy Littleton, the library director since last August, said all the renovations make the library a better place for the patrons and staff.
“It makes me feel fabulous because I don't feel like I'm in a cave and our patrons can see out, and if things are going on outside we can see it,” said Littleton.
The patrons are equally pleased, according to Litteton.
“They love it. I can not tell you how many times people come in here and say, ‘We love the windows, we love it so much.’ It feels bigger in here, it feels brighter in here and more welcoming and cheerier,” she said.
During the construction, Littleton said, coming to work every day “was like Christmas.”
Littleton said since the renovations were completed, the library has attracted new patrons and the number of library cards issued has increased dramatically.
State Sen. Randy Price, R-Opelika, and State Rep. Ginny Shaver, R-Leesburg, attended the celebration and were both glad that so many players worked together for the common good.
Price said it was good to be in Cleburne County to see community projects going on and how they’ve brought the community together.
“Anytime that you put together a group of people in a community and they all come together, what a blessing it is,” Price said.
Shaver said that Littleton is a “go-getter” and gave her a book that she can read to kids.
“I always enjoy these days whenever we get to be in the community and see these projects come to fruition that really enhance the lives of the citizens because that’s what we’re supposed to do, is to make things better for our citizens,” Shaver said.
After the celebration was over at the library, Shaver, Price and the RC&D staff headed to Borden Springs to award the Borden Springs Volunteer Fire Department a $35,000 grant to buy new turnout gear. Richards said the grant was a community development block grant which came through RC&D to be given to the fire department.
According to Richards, the firefighters said “it was like Christmas in June” to receive the much-needed money to buy the new gear.