Atmore grant a positive step

Published 10:28 am Wednesday, June 15, 2005

By By Adam Prestridge
Walking the streets of Atmore will soon be a thing of the past.
That's because the City of Atmore is on a mission to make sure all major thoroughfares are lined with sidewalks.
The Atmore City Council became one step closer to beginning work on new sidewalks after accepting the lowest of three bids on a long-awaited sidewalk project during Monday afternoon's meeting.
"We were glad to get a good price because it enabled us to do it," Atmore Mayor Howard Shell said. "Had the prices all been up on the high end, then we probably would not have been able to do it."
Beasley &Company was awarded the contract with a bid of $98,187. The other two bids received were for $180,000 and $163,000.
Paul Darnell with DMD Engineers, Inc., the engineering firm for the sidewalk project, was also pleased with the lower bid amount.
"It was slightly over the amount of the grant, if we need to, we can cut it back a little bit, but I think we got an excellent price from Beasley &Company," he said.
A majority of the funding for the sidewalk project will be provided by the Alabama Department of Transportation as part of it Transportation Enhancement Program for sidewalk improvement. The project has been in the works for over a year, but funding and Hurricane Ivan were two of the main factors setting the project back. The city put the project on the backburner because of the damages sustained from Ivan and the lack of available contractors due to all the cleanup efforts.
Darnell did inform that though the bid amount was low, work on the project would not begin immediately.
"They've (Beasley &Company) got a number of projects they're working on now, so they've asked for a little bit of time delay in starting the project, which I would also recommend that we allow," he said. "He asked for two or three months. It's not a long time, but still we're not going to start immediately."
The sidewalk project will extend from Martin Luther King Drive, three blocks north of the railroad tracks, down Medical Park Drive just south of Atmore Community Hospital. It will also extend the existing sidewalks on Hwy. 21 to Escambia County High School.
Mayor Shell believes the additional sidewalks will assist in the safety of city residents.
"It will help get people off the streets," Shell said. "This project will be all the way down to the hospital and a lot of people walk back-and-forth to the hospital, as well as, the school."
Not only is the project a safety measure, but it will also help improve the city's beautification.
"Any time that you're able to improve a street in a community then you're upgrading the quality of what you have in your town," Shell said. "It's just another step in us trying to make improvements."
In other business, the council:
– Accepted the Planning Board's recommendation to change the zoning on a piece of property off Hwy. 31 west of Rocky Creek Road extending to Independent Methodist Church from B1/R2 to B2.
– Agreed to the supplemental agreements for the airport grants awarded by the Federal Aviation Administration.
– Agreed to honor its commitment of $25,000 to the Tri-County Industrial Development Authority.
– Agreed to make the Atmore Public Library a voting place for Escambia County elections. Staff Chevrolet, which was recently purchased by Chuck Stevens Automotive, served as the voting place for years, but new renovations prohibit the car dealership from housing voters.
– Accepted the Michele Gerlach's resignation from the Industrial Development Board. First National Bank of Atmore President Shep Marsh was voted in to fill the vacant seat.
– Appointed Jim Spears tot the County Board of Equalization.
– Agreed to allow Rev. Charlie Cunningham to hold a tent revival within the city limits under the conditions that he will contact the city to make sure all city codes and ordinances are being properly followed.
– Mayor Shell announced that the city had received a statement of support for the National Guard and reserves from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
– Approved the application of a retail beer license for Sally and Donald Ellestad Jr., owners of The Viking Corner Store, formerly Doug's Grocery.
– Agreed to transfer a retail beer license from Greg Cole to Gregory McCants.

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