Council receives needed grants

Published 4:06 am Wednesday, February 16, 2005

By By Adam Prestridge
Walkers throughout Atmore will have more sidewalks to choose from in the near future.
Monday night, the Atmore City Council received a $190,876 grant from Gov. Bob Riley as part of the Transportation Enhancement Program.
"We made this request back several months ago," Mayor Howard Shell said.
According to Allen Nix with the Atmore Community Development Department the grant will help with repairs and additions of sidewalks in various areas throughout Atmore. Those areas include South Main Street at Horner Street to Pizza Hut, Horner Street to Pensacola Avenue, Presley Road to School House Road to Hwy. 31 and from Houston Avery Park off Martin Luther King Jr. Drive to the city limits.
"There are constant repair situations you have to deal with in small towns," Shell explained. "You've always got sidewalks that have to be repaired due to wear and tear. When we get grants we try to use the money in different parts of the community, so it's beneficial to everyone."
Although a huge chunk of the funding will go toward repairing existing sidewalks, Shell said that more sidewalks will be added.
The next step for the council is to bid the project out. The only problem is contracting companies are busy working to help in the rebuilding process since Hurricane Ivan struck. In fact, the city already has one sidewalk grant on hold.
The previous grant, which nearly topped $100,000, will help with sidewalk repairs and additions from Ashley Street just off Martin Luther King Jr. Street south to the railroad tracks and across the railroad tracks down Medical Park Drive to the hospital. It will also help provide work on Presley Street from near the civic center to near the Escambia County High School and from North Main Ave A. to Escambia County Middle School.
Since the city has two sidewalk projects to bid out, Mayor Shell and the council was advised to hold off bidding out the projects for a few more months.
"Our engineering firm has asked us to hold off on the bidding," Shell said. "Because of Hurricane Ivan a lot of things have been shoved back. Most all the contractors have been busy, so they advised us that we would be better off to wait about 90 days on trying to bid out the others."
Waiting could save the city money.
"The engineers have asked us to hold off until the price of contractors comes down and that should be about 90 days," Shell said. "They said we would get much better prices if we would hold off for a couple more months. This grant we'll have to hold off on also, but at least we've got the money in the hopper and when the prices do get right, we can start doing some work on some of them."
The council also received an $880,000 grant from the Alabama Department of Transportation as part of the Highway Improvement Program, which will be used for preliminary engineering and right-of-way acquisition on Industrial Drive and U.S. Hwy. 31.
The project will include a turn lane into the Atmore Industrial Park and an acceleration, deceleration and turn lane on Hwy. 31. The roadway improvement will benefit Masland Carpets and other various industries in the city's industrial park area.
Mayor Shell and the council unanimously agreed to enter into the program, which requires no matching funds.
In other business, the council:

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