The East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission (EARPDC) is a multi-purpose public agency providing a wide range of services to member governments within the ten-county service area and to the residents of the region. The Commission is designated to provide regional services by a number of state and federal agencies. The Commission is the Economic Development Administration (EDA) designated Economic Development District (EDD) and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) designated Local Development District for its region. The Commission provides program administrative support to the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the Calhoun Area Transportation Study. The Commission serves as the Rural Planning Organization (RPO) providing transportation planning support for the non-urbanized areas of the region under a contract with the Alabama Department of Transportation. The Commission has also developed a Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan for the region.
The Commission’s Area Agency on Aging provides services to seniors through either local contracts or by direct service provision and assists in the coordination of a variety of aging service programs with other agencies throughout the 10-county area. The Commission’s Area Agency on Aging is part of a nationwide Network on Aging under the direction of the U.S. Administration on Aging. The primary responsibility of the Area Agency on Aging is the implementation of the Older Americans Act of 1965, as amended, administration of state programs under the supervision of the Alabama Department of Senior Services, and implementation of local programs serving older Alabamians. In communities throughout the regions, the Commission currently funds 42 Senior Centers serving hot meals and 2 Nutrition Outreach Centers providing frozen meals to homebound elderly. These centers are operated by local governments and nonprofit organizations under contractual agreements. The Commission operates “SenioRx”, a prescription drug assistance program providing long term medications and wellness activities to seniors throughout the region. The Commission also operates the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) which streamlines access to services for seniors 60 years and above and disabled persons regardless of age. The Commission’s Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) offers assistance to unemployed job seekers, who are 55 years of age and older and with limited household income, to revitalize their job skills, earning minimum wages while assigned part-time to community service on-the-job training at local nonprofit or governmental agencies. Assistance is also available for participants through job development.
The Commission’s staff administers the ACTS fixed-route transit system and ADA Paratransit transportation serving Anniston, Oxford, Hobson City, Weaver and Jacksonville. The Commission also administers demand-response public transit systems serving Piedmont and the urban and rural areas of Calhoun County. In addition, the Commission administers demand-response rural public transit services in Cherokee, Clay, Cleburne, Coosa, and Talladega Counties.
The Commission provides a wide range of general planning services to its member governments. Typical planning assistance services include: preparing local government comprehensive plans, zoning ordinances, and subdivision regulations; responding to general planning and zoning questions; conducting local strategic planning forums; preparing housing needs assessments, neighborhood improvement plans and downtown revitalization plans. The Commission maintains demographic and socio-economic data on the local governments, serves as a State Data Center repository, and prepares and updates annually the region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). The Commission’s staff also provides technical assistance on redistricting. The Commission provides a broad range of mapping and Geographic Information System (GIS) services. The Commission’s staff also provides technical assistance to local governments in preparation and submission of grant applications and the management of grants. In 1988, the Commission created the first Regional Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) in Alabama. The Commission has received funding from EDA, ARC, and the State of Alabama to fund regional revolving loan funds providing gap financing loans to expanding and start-up businesses and industry.