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THURSDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2007
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N. Alabama counties closer to becoming National Heritage Area

By Catherine Godbey
cgodbey@decaturdaily.com 340-2441

How would you spend $1 million a year for 15 years?

If the Senate approves the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area Act, a board of directors, consisting of at least six members, would undertake that responsibility.

U.S. Rep. Bud Cramer, D-Huntsville, presented the bill, on behalf of himself and Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville, before the House of Representatives as part of the Celebrating America's Heritage Act. The House approved the proposal Wednesday.

The designated area under the Muscle Shoals act encompasses Lawrence, Limestone, Morgan, Lauderdale, Franklin and Colbert counties. In support of the act, Cramer noted the environmental and cultural history of the area, specifically citing it as the birthplace of the Tennessee Valley Authority, Helen Keller and W.C. Handy.

"The Shoals region is home to a rich and unique history that has positively impacted the development of the entire country," Cramer said.

Since 2001, Cramer worked on garnering federal funds to study the historical impact of the area.

Pending Senate approval, the area would become the first in Alabama officially recognized as a National Heritage Area. Thirty-seven exist nationwide.

The annual $1 million appropriation would finance the area's conservation, development and preservation efforts.

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