Staff speaks at ‘breakfast’

Published 3:49 pm Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Atmore Mayor Jim Staff told citizens about various city projects during Thursday's first "Breakfast with the Mayor" event.

Atmore Mayor Jim Staff told citizens about various city projects during Thursday’s first “Breakfast with the Mayor” event.

Atmore residents got some food for thought, as well as food for their bodies, during the first “Breakfast with the Mayor” on Thursday morning.

The Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce sponsored the event, which was held at the Atmore SAIL Center. Baldwin Gulf Coast Pest Control provided food for the breakfast, which was free of charge.

Atmore Mayor Jim Staff told those in attendance about various city projects underway, including a $17,000 federal grant the city received to improve Westside Park. The work must be completed by the end of the September.

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Staff also took questions from citizens. Shane Hadley asked if there could be additional improvements to the downtown area.

“I think maybe a few civic groups could pool their efforts together to help make the back of some of the buildings look even better,” he said.

Staff acknowledged that community volunteer Foster Kizer has done a great job of painting the front of downtown buildings, and agreed with Hadley that it might be good to focus on the backs as well. He said the city owns several of the parking lots and would like to make improvements, but funds are not available just yet.

“I know that a lot of people go in and out of the parking lot at Escambia Drug Store and We Care,” Staff said. “We probably need to go in and resurface and put down new arrows and everything.”

Bub Gideons, the president of the Pride of Atmore civic group, said that the group plans to soon release details about a project that will help further improve downtown.

Staff also addressed some of the “eyesore” buildings that visitors see as they come into town, including the old Golden Corral location. He said the city has notified the building’s owner and he is hopeful improvements will be made by the start of 2015.

Chamber President Anne Hetzel thanked everyone for coming out to the breakfast.

“It’s our Atmore and we have to take care of her,” she said. “It’s good to see everyone here.”

Hetzel said the idea for the breakfast came about shortly after the chamber saw the positive response from a YMCA forum held early in the year. She said nothing is set in stone yet, put perhaps the breakfasts could be held at least once a quarter to help keep the public informed.