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Council makes plans for I-65 connector

By By Robbie Byrd, News Editor
Preceeding Monday's Atmore City Council meeting the City Planning Board held a public hearing to discuss proposed rezoning of property that would allow a connecting route from Jack Springs Road to the city's Industrial Park.
The city must rezone the property, currently zoned R-3, or single family housing, to M-2, or manufacturing and industrial property zoning for the effort to get underway.
Mayor Shell said this is only the first step in that goal.
"Eventually, we're gonna try to see if we can put a connector road from Jack Springs Road to the Industrial Park," Shell said. "This will give trucks easier and quicker access to I-65."
"However this is only one phase of that process," Shell said.
Two landowners whose property adjoined the land to be rezoned were in attendance.
According to Shell, everyone at the hearing was in agreement that the rezoning is a positive move by the city.
"We had no opposition from anyone in attendance," Shell said.
Shell said he believes this will give the city more opportunity to expand industrial operations in the city.
"This will give us an opportunity to develop more of Industrial Park and expand," he said.
Watkins returns
In other council news, after nearly a month and a half of being absent from city council meetings, district 2 councilman John Watkins returned to his duties at Monday's council meeting.
While Watkins said that he is feeling much better, he still has "a long row to hoe."
"There are still tests that I must undergo, but I'm optimistic," Watkins said.
Watkins was thankful to those who have helped him through his extended absence and illness.
"I don't want to miss any names, so I just want to thank my church families, friends, the mayor, City Hall, the library, hospital and above all, God," Watkins said. "If it weren't for the prayers of all the people of the city, I wouldn't be here today."
5K Run Approved
The council heard from Terri Godwin, director of the Atmore Area YMCA, who expressed her desire to sponsor a 5K run as part of this year's Mayfest festivities.
"We have a run every year for Williams Station Day, and we had a lot of people request that we have one for Mayfest as well," Godwin said.
The run will start at the corner of Pine Hill Drive and Medical Park Drive, next to the city's Tom Byrne baseball field. It will continue up Medical Park Drive until it reaches McRae Street. It will then turn onto 21st Avenue. After crossing the Old Bratt Road intersection, the route will reverse and continue back its starting point at tom Byrne Park.
Godwin said this is a good way to get people and out and exercising.
"We want people out there to run," Godwin said.
The council also:
o approved the minutes from its March 25 meeting;
o approved accounts payable for the month;
o honored the memory of Willie McBryde and Esell Sinquefield.
McBryde passed away early last week. He served as police dispatcher with the Atmore Police Department from Oct. 1996 until Nov. 2001. McBryde retired from the APD due to illness.
Sinquefield passed away last Wednesday in a private nursing care facility.
She was a long time resident of Atmore.
"She was a very confident business leader and will be severely missed," Shell said.
Council