New year brings good news for Shelby County

I ended 2011 by reporting on a little bit of good news.

Three Shelby County entities were the recipients of grants from the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham: Safe House of Shelby County, the University of Montevallo and the Shelby County Arts Council.

I moved to the area six months ago, but I’m already familiar with the good works by all three of these entities. That’s why I was so pleased to hear about the grants.

-The Shelby County Arts Council received $100,000 over two years to help expand its base of donors toward construction of a performing arts and community education facility.

-The University of Montevallo received $100,000 over two years for a planned 35-acre eco park.

-Safe House of Shelby County received $50,000 over two years to help survivors of domestic violence and their children in residential services program learn to become self-reliant and get help with financial needs before moving to permanent housing.

James McCrary, vice president of grants and endowments for the Community Foundation, said it’s not unusual for the organization to provide grants to organizations in Shelby County. The Community Foundation awards grants in a five-county area, and there’s no doubt those grants will make a big difference in our area.

The Shelby County Arts Council is in the midst of a fundraising campaign to create a 26,000-square foot community arts center in Columbiana that will serve people across the county.

Safe House of Shelby County has provided hundreds of women and their families with a safe haven from domestic abuse.

The University of Montevallo will use the grant to fund an eco park it’s creating near University Lake. Proposed plans for the eco-friendly park include a picnic pavilion, barbecue station, a beach volleyball court, fitness trails, a boathouse and additional piers and docks.

I, for one, am looking forward to seeing how all three organizations use their grants.

I hope everyone else in Shelby County received good news for the new year.

Katie McDowell is the lifestyles editor for the Shelby County Reporter. She can be reached at 669-3131 ext. 19 or by email at katie.mcdowell@shelbycountyreporter.com.