The accredited Land Trust of North Alabama partnered with Downtown Huntsville, Inc. and Downtown Charitable Fund to provide temporary employment to service industry workers from downtown Huntsville businesses who had been displaced due to the economic fallout of COVID-19.
The workers who participated in the program assisted with removal of invasive Japanese honeysuckle plants from the trails on Monte Sano Nature Preserve. The land trust had 39 eligible inquiries, and seven people completed orientation and participated in the trail work.
The program began in early April and paid each eligible employee $10 per hour for up to 40 hours per week.
To be eligible for the program, workers had to prove that they were downtown Huntsville food, beverage or retail industry employees who, effective April 1, had been laid off from their positions due to cutbacks from the coronavirus outbreak. Only the unemployed were eligible, and only until they were reemployed for 20 or more hours per week at any employer.
Mayor Tommy Battle responded positively to the program, saying, "In times of crisis, it is heartening to see the many ways our community has come together to help each other. This creative opportunity to provide jobs and wages for our displaced downtown workers and to help one of our treasured assets is the kind of compassionate creativity that will help Huntsville get through this pandemic stronger than ever before."