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City moving forward

By By Chuck Bodiford Publisher
Tuesday morning, Mayor Howard Shell met with members of the Atmore City Council, Nick Sfakianos of Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, Inc., and Diane Burnett, grant administrator with the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission. The purpose of the morning meeting was to discuss what stage the City of Atmore is currently at with the construction of the new SAIL center for Atmore's senior citizen population and its future plans.
To recap, on November 14, 2003, Governor Bob Riley awarded the city of Atmore a $250,000 grant for the construction of a new senior center. Matching funds of $50,000 were committed to the project by the city. "Senior citizens need and deserve modern facilities designed specifically for them," Riley said. "Senior centers serve an important role in enhancing the quality of life of our elderly residents and I am pleased to provide funding for this new facility in Atmore."
Atmore's senior program is called SAIL, which stands for Senior Action for Independent Living. It is also the largest, most active center in the region under the South Alabama Center for Aging, an area that encompasses both Mobile and Baldwin Counties.
The morning meeting began with Mayor Howard Shell giving introductions then turning the meeting over to Burnett who gave a brief overview of the grant process which has allowed the city to pursue the new SAIL center. After addressing the grant process and where the city is currently at with that process, Burkett said, "We have met all the requirements for ADECA (Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs), so the release of funds should be happening in the next week." The Architectural Review Committee did meet and selected an architect for this project which is Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood."
With that Burkett turned the meeting over to Sfakianos, who presented the audience with a proposed layout of the building and timetable of work needing to occur for completion of the building. Sfakianos addressed the proposed layout which would include seating for over 110 people anticipating growth with the new building. The building is looking to be about 5125 square feet. The rooms contained within are designed to be multifunctional and multi-use. According to Mayor Shell this amount of space is probably similar to the old National Guard Armory; however, the space will be of better quality and is arranged in a much more functional way. Sfakianos agreed by saying," Having a building specifically designed for this use will make a big difference."
Other items of concern at the meeting were parking and the direction that the building would face. The building will face Ridgley Street with access to the center from that street and also access from Presley St and parking is not seen as being a problem.
According to the time schedule presented the construction of the building should start in late July of the year and be completed around the end of February, 2005. This timeline is based on all parts of development staying on schedule and not running into any delays and also depending on the weather once construction actually gets underway.
In other industrial developments Euel Screws, an engineer also associated with Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, Inc., came from Montgomery to take a moment and update the audience on a couple of other projects that the City of Atmore is actively engaged in.
The first thing addressed was the road project which is the industrial access road at the existing industrial park on Highway 31. Design of the project will start after approval through the DOT of a contract that is the engineer's agreement with the city. As soon as that is received which is thought to be very soon, the design phase will begin which is a 10 thousand foot access road from where Masland Carpets is to Jack Springs road.
The other part of that project is work at the I-65 industrial park. Currently the city is looking at constructing an entrance into the park on the right-side when heading north. The project will consist of adding a secondary entrance into the park made up of a gravel access road, which will aid in marketing the park to prospective clients.
"We have a drainage project over at Pine Barren Creek watershed," Screws said. "We are under contract with the city and are getting ready to send out surveyors and will be probably begin doing some preliminary engineering on it, which is going to be a massive data collection project."
Resolution with the Core of Engineers is close, Screws said concerning the I-65 industrial park and the wetlands. This involves identifying and classifying the wetlands on the site, after that a mitigation process occurs after permission from the courts are given.
Screws wrapped up his briefing by saying, "You all have positioned yourself on many different fronts to take advantage of industry."