Public Scoping Meetings to Be Held for Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area
Apr. 14, 2011
FLORENCE, Ala. – Public Scoping Meetings will be held for the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area at the Limestone County Event Center at 5 p.m. April 25 and at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame at 5 p.m. April 28. The Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area, housed at the University of North Alabama, was designated by the U.S. Congress in March 2009 to preserve and promote culturally and historically significant sites within a six-county area of north Alabama. The area includes Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone and Morgan counties.
Judy Sizemore, director of the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area, said the Public Scoping Meetings will be the beginning of a two-year process to develop a management plan for the National Heritage Area. The plan, required by the National Heritage Area’s designation legislation, will include an environmental impact study, a business plan, a sustainability plan and a full inventory of all the environmental, recreational and historical assets of the six-county area.
“These meetings will set a foundation of public involvement for us,” Sizemore said. “The heritage area will mirror the desires of the public within what our designation legislation says we can do, so that’s why it’s important that everybody comes to share their ideas.”
The Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area is one of only 49 National Heritage Areas in 32 states and the only National Heritage Area in Alabama. A National Heritage Area receives funding each year from the National Parks Service, to be matched dollar for dollar from state and local governments and other local and regional sources.
“To have Congress recognize this local area as a place of cultural and historic significance for our nation is a real mark of distinction for us,” Sizemore said. “It speaks volumes about what we have to offer, and with the public’s help, it can draw even more people here to see why the northwest Alabama area is so important not only to the region but to the entire country.”